Working Alongside People with Intellectual and Learning Disabilities

Is it just behavioural? biographies

Biographies of speakers and services involved in the 2014 Paperbag Lunch seminar 'Is it just behavioural? People with Intellectual Disability and Effective Mental Health Management'.


A DVD of the event is available to order for services outside Brisbane. Please look under Upcoming Events or Contact Us to order a copy.


Dr Niki Edwards (Senior Lecturer QUT School of Public Health and Social Work) Niki graduated in Social Work from the University of Queensland (UQ) in 1982, completed a Bachelor of Arts in 1992 (UQ), a Master of Public Administration in 2000 (UQ) and a PhD in Epidemiology in 2007 (UQ). She has worked in health, disability and human services for more than 20 years: initially working in psychiatric services as people with disabilities moved from institutional care/community development, then clinical work in hospital and rehabilitation settings, public policy and public administration across government portfolios including family services, community services, disability and mental health, and in recent years, medical education. Niki has been involved in academia for more than a decade, undertaking mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) research and teaching responsibilities at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including teaching of medical students and trainee psychiatrists. She recently worked for government developing mental health policy and undertook community partnership work but is more specifically interested in the mental health needs of vulnerable people, including people with disabilities (particularly those with intellectual and developmental disability). Niki is one of the few accredited international trainers in the psychiatric assessment of adults with intellectual and developmental disability. Other focused research and teaching interests include disability in the international setting, human rights, women’s issues and clinical communication between allied health professionals and medical practitioners. Niki is appointed as a Senior Lecturer with the School of Public Health and Social Work and from 2014 was appointed as the Coordinator of the Social Work undergraduate degrees. Regardless of her academic career and working life, Niki considers her greatest achievement to be parenting her five beautiful children and three “pesky” dachshunds with her partner of 30 years.


Dr Luke Hatzipetrou (BA, P/Grad Dip Psych, DCP, Intellectual Disability Outreach Service) is a clinical and forensic psychologist with expertise in delivering treatment services to people with intellectual disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders and mental illness. Dr Hatzipetrou has published and delivered workshops regarding the psychological treatment of persons with developmental disorders. He provides forensic reports to the Mental Health Court and the Queensland Civil & Administrative Tribunal.


Services supporting self advocates:


Community Living Program, (Community Living Association) has been supporting people with learning, intellectual and cognitive disabilities since 1989. CLP supports its constituents to live in their local community by working with its constituents to improve their safety and security, resources such as income, housing etc, physical and mental well-being, safe and positive relationships, and their role and contribution to community. CLA/CLP has also engaged in a number of research and development projects in the areas of homelessness, criminal justice, mental health, sexual assault, literacy, employment and housing. One of the services that developed was the At Risk Research Outreach Service (ARROS) to provide outreach services to young people with intellectual disabilities who were homeless. It has also fostered the development of a workers’ co-operative, housing co-operative, literacy programs and a range of other initiatives. The WWILD-SVP Association was also a program that developed out of CLA research project in 1994.


WWILD-SVP Association Inc. works with women and men with intellectual or learning disabilities who have been victims of sexual violence, other crime or exploitation, or who are at risk. Originally formed in 1995 by a group of women with intellectual disabilities, WWILD has grown to a funded organisation that works alongside women and men with intellectual or learning disability, and provides specialised counselling, groups, support, information, advice and referral, community education and professional training. WWILD .has two programs, the Sexual Violence Prevention Service and the Disability Training Program - Victims of Crime. At WWILD we strive to achieve social justice and systemic change that will uphold the rights of people with intellectual and learning disabilities to live free from violence. We have a vision of a society that values people with intellectual difference and acknowledges their abilities. Our goal is that people lead good lives.