Elegant Abstract Background

Giving voice to rural and remote First Nations NDIS participants who are Deaf or hard of hearing in the Northern Territory

Project Summary

Very little is known about the lived experiences of First Nations people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Because of this, it is difficult to know if and how this cohort is accessing disability support systems such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This knowledge gap is partially due to the lack of linguistically accessible and culturally sensitive approaches that enable inclusion and participation of these individuals within community-based research partnerships.


This mixed-methods co-designed project aims to understand factors influencing effective NDIS plan utilisation among First Nations people who are Deaf or hard of hearing living in rural and remote communities in the Northern Territory. It builds on an existing research collaboration between University of Melbourne researchers and Deaf Indigenous Community Consultancy, developed through research on NDIS plan utilisation.


We will pilot co-designed qualitative yarning approaches and data collection with 10-12 NDIS participants and their close supports. The project also includes quantitative analysis of NDIS participant datasets informed by lived experience. The project aims to give voice to First Nations NDIS participants and understand their experiences.

Project Team


  • Dr Alexandra Devine, The University of Melbourne (Co-Lead)

  • Jody Barney, Deaf Indigenous Community Consultancy Pty Ltd, Senior Fellow with Atlantic Fellows Social Equity and Global Fellow for Social Change (Co-Lead)

  • Dr Ashley McAllister, University of Melbourne

  • Dr George Disney, University of Melbourne 

  • Yi Yang, University of Melbourne 

  • Marie Huska, University of Melbourne

  • Dr Damien Howard, Phoenix Consultancy Pty Ltd, Darwin

  • James Blyth, Auslan Consultancy Pty Ltd, Brisbane