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Building Opportunities, Building Communities Conference 2020

One person at a time: ensuring an individual based approach to complexity within the NDIS Framework.

Man watering his garden

Following the success of the 2018 and 2019 Building Opportunities, Building Communities conferences, Possability’s Research Institute presents its 2020 industry event.

This year’s program includes leading industry practitioners presenting insights into service innovation and some of the latest information on the impact of new living options and Supported Independent Living. How can we ensure those experiencing the greatest disadvantage are served by these new opportunities? The conference will provide opportunities for professional development as we reflect on best practice in Positive Behaviour Support, active support and employment.

This year’s program will appeal to those working across the disability sector with presentations, papers, open discussions and workshops to challenge our thinking and encourage continuous improvement.

With some of the world’s leading minds in the disability sector coming together to share their invaluable knowledge with other professionals in the disability sector at this conference, we are excited to announce the full lineup of speakers.


Full lineup of speakers

The conference will be held over two days in two states with the option to join us virtually or in-person (Hobart only) – we look forward to seeing you there.

Day one – 28 October (online only)
9.30am Keynote Speaker, Professor Christine Bigby – Living with Disability Research Centre, La Trobe University

Dedifferentiation and people with intellectual disabilities in the Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme: bringing research, politics and policy together

Professor Bigby examines the effectiveness of planning, exercising choice and control, issues around functional capacity assessments and the need for greater attention to the unique needs of people with intellectual disabilities.


11am SDA Panel, hosted by Jodie Henry (General Manager Growth and Partnerships, Possability)

The housing revolution of Supported Disability Accommodation (SDA)

With panellists Claire Timmins (parent) and Phil Richardson (Chapter2), this discussion will focus on the real experiences of negotiating the journey to SDA and what it means to participants and families.


12.45pm Keynote Speaker, Brendan Murray, Director – Article 26

Complexity and the justice system: how we might successfully engage with and support people experiencing crisis?

Brendan will unpack the answers he has been perfecting over 20 years and explain the latest in Positive Behaviour Support, psychiatric disability rehabilitation and education.


2.15pm Helen Killmier, CEO – Guidestar

Embedding trauma-informed approaches into practice: top down or bottom up?

Although a growing body of research documents detrimental lifelong impacts of trauma, the science regarding the implementation of trauma-informed care remains modest. This presentation will discuss trauma-informed approaches across all levels of an organisation: benefits, barriers to implementation, cultural shift, strategies for implementation and measurement.


Day two – 29 October (online and in-person)
9.05am Keynote Speaker, Brian McClean – University College Galway, Ireland

A sense of home: for a building to be a home, it must be imbued with a range of meanings, including a sense of belonging

Brian will present his study emphasising the importance of true person-centred planning and how organisations can incorporate this approach when supporting participants to move into their own home.


10.30am Brendan Crates & Robert Davies – Possability

How I became a world traveller!

Brendan and Robert will present the story of Robert’s journey from living in short-term accommodation, displaying many challenging behaviours, to living in his own home and travelling the world.


11.15am Carolyn King & Nick Arnott – University of Tasmania

Applied health and community support: building opportunities through education

The Associate Degree in Applied Health and Community Support at the University of Tasmania aims to build the workforce capacity and opportunities through education. Learn what this course offers and what it means for the future of the disability support industry.


12pm Nicola Crates – Executive General Manager, Practice Innovation and Service Development, Possability

Housing: A first step from complexity to stability

Nicola will highlight the importance of housing, alongside funding, specialist supports such as medical, allied health and behaviour supports, and the need for leadership and innovative service design when dealing with the complexities that exist for participants.


1pm Workshop hosted by Matthew Spicer – Possability & Gillian Martin – Soiléir Psychology Services, Ireland

Motivational interviewing

This workshop will introduce participants to the process and some of the key concepts of motivational interviewing, and explore the complimentary nature of motivational interviewing and Positive Behaviour Support.


3.30pm Closing remarks by Drew Beswick – CEO, Possability

Our speakers

Prof Christine Bigby

Director, Living with Disability Research Centre / Chair, Academic Board School of Allied Health, Human Services & Sport / La Trobe University:

Professor Christine Bigby

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Professor Christine Bigby has a national and international reputation for her research on the social inclusion of adults with intellectual disability. The focus of her work is policy issues, program effectiveness and frontline practices that support quality of life outcomes for people with intellectual disability. Her current research is examining the effectiveness of supported accommodation services, the nature and meaning of social inclusion for people with intellectual disability and supported decision making for people with cognitive disability.

Speaker Brendan Murray

Director, Article 26, Melbourne:

Brendan Murray

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Brendan is a Sanctuary Institute Faculty Member with MacKillop Family Services. He is an educationalist, a justice advocate and a human rights proponent with a particular interest in inclusive schools, education directed to the full development of the human personality and justice systems that accord its prisoners with respect and dignity for the betterment of its society.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Guidestar:

Helen Killmier

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Guidestar supports people with multiple and complex needs using a trauma-informed approach to achieve meaningful participation and an improved quality of life. Helen has extensive experience in leadership roles and her industry experience includes disability, mental health, homelessness, alcohol and other drugs, justice and local government.

A registered Community Psychologist,  Helen’s research interests are sense of community, sense of place, community wellbeing, dual disability and mental health. She is a Member of the Australian Psychological Society, a Fellow of the College of Community Psychologists, a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an Honorary Fellow of Melbourne University.

Practice Consultant, Practice Innovation and Service Development, Possability:

Brendan Crates

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Brendan lives in Tasmania and works at Possability in the Practice Team. Brendan studied education at UTAS, has completed the IABA longitudinal course and worked extensively as a support professional in a range of environments. He has spent time teaching in Asia and enjoys taking photos of toys.

Robert Davies

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Robert completed Year 12 at Newstead College in Launceston, Tasmania and since graduating he has been engaged in both volunteering and paid employment, walking dogs at a local kennel and delivering newspapers. He has had many opportunities to indulge his love of travel both in Australia and overseas. Robert currently lives on his own, supported by Possability. In his spare time he enjoys taking his dog Charlie for walks, watching cartoons and going to the movies.

Practice Leader - Possability:

Matthew Spicer

BPsych, MAPS
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Matthew is a registered psychologist with 20 years of experience working across Government and Non-Government services. Joining Possability in 2016, Matthew has a wealth of experience as a Practitioner and Clinical Manager. Specialising in service development and in training staff to support people with complex needs and Behaviour of Concern. His values of compassion, social justice and effective practice are evident through his work, peer reviewed publications and presentations at local and international conferences.

Soileir Psychology Services, Ireland:

Gillian Martin

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Gillian is a Chartered Psychologist and Board Certified Behaviour Analyst with extensive experience supporting people with Intellectual Disabilities, Dementia, Autistic Spectrum Conditions and Mental Health Needs. She is skilled in Multi Element Behaviour Support, Supervision, Staff Training, Applied Behaviour Analysis, Positive Behaviour Support, Research, Learning Development and Facilitation and Motivational Interviewing.

Phil Richardson

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Phil leads the team at Chapter2, a registered SDA provider and property specialist. Chapter2 has an exclusive focus on the development and management of SDA properties. Phil and his team are driven first and foremost by understanding the individual needs of the clients. Then through intelligent design and creative problem solving they strive to tailor and manage environments that enhance and enable quality of life. Phil has an engineering background and has been an active member of the Melbourne property community for over 15 years.

Clinical Psychologist, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland:

Dr Brian McClean

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Dr Brian McClean’s doctoral thesis was on the outcomes of Positive Behaviour Support for 138 people with autism and intellectual disabilities. In 1994, he established The Callan Institute for Behaviour Support as a national training and consultation agency. He went on to establish the first community-based behaviour support team in Ireland in County Roscommon. He has supervised the development of over 1,000 multi-element behaviour support plans, and has published his research in international journals. He currently lectures in Clinical Psychology at University College Dublin and in Applied Behaviour Analysis at the National University of Ireland Galway.

Brian has worked with individuals in pursuit of a real home and will share his knowledge and experiences in understanding what a real home is and supporting people to find theirs.

Thanks to our sponsors!