Roles and Responsibilities of Developmental Educators: Disability Professionals Supporting Australians with Disability

Fiona Rillotta, June Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is associated with disability sector growth. A skilled and competent disability professional workforce is needed. Developmental Educators (DEs) are university qualified disability specialists; however, the profession (est.1983) has been under recognised. Due to the multi-skilled nature and broad scope of this profession, there is little evidence associated with the exact roles of DEs once they complete their degree and enter the disability workforce. This paper presents a mixed methods self-assessment investigation of DEs’ current job roles and responsibilities, and DEs’ perceptions of the understanding of their profession. Data were gathered from DEs (N = 121) using an online survey. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. DEs reported working with people with disabilities across the lifespan in various settings including: employment, accommodation, recreation, education, positive behaviour support, and skill development. Though there were widespread perceptions from DEs that their profession was under recognised, many DEs reported being employed prior to or immediately after graduation from their degree. The next step for this research is to investigate the views and perceptions of people with disabilities and their family members who receive service and support from DEs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Disability, Development and Education
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Allied health professional
  • Developmental Educator (DE)
  • disability professional
  • disability specialist
  • disability workforce

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