Report cover

Interventions to improve social, community and civic participation of adults on the autism spectrum or living with intellectual or psychosocial disability

Community participation National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Disability awareness Disability services Intellectual disability People with disability Australia

This umbrella evidence review covers interventions for enhancing social, community and civic participation for adults (over 18 years of age) on the autism spectrum or who have intellectual disability or psychosocial disability.

The review aimed to identify which interventions and supports improve social and community participation outcomes in the target groups. It included 57 systematic reviews of 522 relevant studies.

The report forms the second part of a larger project Social, community and civic participation of adults on the autism spectrum or living with intellectual or psychosocial disability.

People on the autism spectrum, and people with intellectual or psychosocial disability, often have difficulty initiating and maintaining social, community and civic participation due to impairments in social skills, cognitive function, limited access to social and financial resources, and broader social and community barriers.

This systematic review is part of the NDIA research program that aligns with the objectives of the NDIS Act to “support the independence and social and economic participation of people with disability” (Part 2; Commonwealth of Australia, 2020), and the strategy outlined in the NDIA Corporate Plan 2021-2025 to “Sustain improvement in participant outcomes (participation in employment and social/community activities)” (Page 26; NDIA, 2021). In particular, the corporate plan aims to increase the social and community participation rate of 45% at the end of the 2020-21 financial year to 48% in the 2022 financial year.

The review aimed to gather the best available evidence to inform and strengthen priority initiatives of the scheme, determine gaps in evidence, and to identify opportunities for future research. The review supports the NDIA to address the recommendations raised in the recent Independent Advisory Council paper (IAC, 2021) to support genuine social and community inclusion of people living with disability. In particular, the IAC recommended that the NDIA:

  • support a planning process that enables participants to focus on inclusion and to build their independence safely (Recommendation 2);
  • focus on capacity building supports through multi-pronged plans and leveraging peer networks (Recommendation 4); and
  • support plan implementation through the generation of evidence guides for participants so that they know “what works” and to build provider practice consistent with inclusion of people living with disability (Recommendation 5).

This review sought to appraise the effectiveness, facilitators of, and barriers to, interventions, programs and supports for improving the social, community and civic participation of adults on the autism spectrum, or living with intellectual or psychosocial disability.

Related Information

‘Getting out into the world’: pathways to community participation and connected…

Publication Details
Easy Read:
Access Rights Type: