Social work with marginalised people who have a mild or borderline intellectual disability : practicing gentleness and encouraging hope

Ellem, Kathy, O'Connor, Morrie, Wilson, Jill, & Williams, Sue (2013) Social work with marginalised people who have a mild or borderline intellectual disability : practicing gentleness and encouraging hope. Australian Social Work, 66(1), pp. 56-71.

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People with mild or borderline intellectual disabilities are a group of people who usually do not meet the eligibility criteria for specialist disability services, yet are high users of many generalist services, such as mental health, child protection, and criminal justice systems. They may traverse many services, often entering, exiting, and returning to the same service providers with few positive results. This article explores the practice approach of the Meryton Association, a medium-sized nongovernment agency located in Brisbane, Australia. The Meryton Association provides social work support to people with mild to borderline intellectual disabilities, actively assisting this group to build relationships, resources, knowledge, and autonomy in their everyday lives. Using qualitative in-depth interviews with Meryton Association staff and secondary analysis of Meryton Association policy and practice documents, the challenges and opportunities of using this practice approach have been documented. The article proposes that specialist services are needed that use a developmental approach, stress the importance of relationship, and the need to practice gentleness and hope in social worker-client interaction.

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2 citations in Scopus
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2 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 74868
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Disability; Practice Research; Social Work
DOI: 10.1080/0312407X.2012.710244
ISSN: 1447-0748
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIAL WORK (160700)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Australian Association of Social Workers
Copyright Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Australian Social Work on 13 November 2012, available online at:
Deposited On: 10 Aug 2014 23:33
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2014 05:47

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