Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children living with disability

This resource is designed to support effective practice with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children living with disability. It offers tips for non-Indigenous disability workers with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.

The resource includes three tip sheets that have been co-designed with Aboriginal families who care for children living with disability. These tip sheets contain intergenerational wisdom which has been generously shared by Emerging Minds’ child and family partners, to help other families and children with disability. They focus on three domains:

  • Taking a holistic approach: Working holistically means understanding that social and emotional wellbeing is maintained through connections to body, mind and emotions, spirituality, Land, Community, family, language and culture. This approach is about seeing the child, family and community as being interconnected. This tip sheet is intended to provide guidance to support a holistic approach when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families living with disability.
  • Culturally safe practice: Cultural competence is a life-long journey for all of us, not a destination. This tip sheet is intended to provide guidance to support culturally safe practice when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families living with disability.
  • Working skillfully to support families: The skills and knowledge required by non-Indigenous practitioners to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities can be supported by a framework of genuine curiosity, an appreciation of the richness and diversity of First Nations cultures, and a willingness to hear and understand the unique lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities. This tip sheet is intended to provide guidance to support skillful practice when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families living with disability.

Like Emerging Minds’ other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resources, these tip sheets are based on the belief that listening to the needs of First Nations families, and heeding their hard-earned wisdom, is essential to effective practice.

It is important to remember there are no easy answers in this work, nor one single way of working. Instead, this resource presents important themes and tips for non-Indigenous disability workers to be aware of; things to think about, reflect on and be curious about when working to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

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