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Individualising Home

Link To Individualising Home Videos
Link to Individualising Home podcast episode
Link to Individualising Home articles and documents
Link to Individualising Home exercises
Link to Individualising Home useful links



Home means different things to different people. However, across cultures, it's seen as a place to feel safe, secure, loved and comfortable. It can be a gathering place for family and friends and a sanctuary, providing escape from the busyness of the world. Moving out of the family home and into our own place is seen as a rite of passage into adulthood and it's our opportunity to make our own home! This is a very individual process where we get to express our own tastes and preferences, learn the skills necessary to live in our own home and choose who we want to live with.


However, often people with a disability don't get to experience this 'typical' process of making home. Their options are often limited to: service run, congregate care setting or accommodation, for example group homes, cluster housing and institutions. These environments, just by their very nature make individualising home very difficult.


In 2017, Errol Cocks, Stian Thoresen, Patricia O'Brien and Keith McVilly from Curtin University in Western Australia produced a report called 'Quality and Outcomes of Individual Supported Living for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities'. This was significant research as it studied what made individualised living arrangements successful for over 150 people with developmental disabilities living in their own home. This lead to the development of a very useful framework. We have drawn on this framework throughout this web site.  The report and a video presentation by Keith McVilly are included in the resources below.

Image of Brendon Hunt playing his pianola

Key Points

  • With the right support, anyone can live in their own home.

  • People do not have to live with other people with disability, or with people they have not specifically chosen to share a home.

  • A home is built around the unique identity of the person. 

  • Home is designed one person at a time.

  • People with disability, no matter how complex their needs, can with the right supports, live in their own home.

  • People can live in their own home without having to live 'alone' or 'independently'.

  • Moving out of the family home is a rite of passage.

  • Often we learn to live in our home only once we live in our own home.

Watch Videos

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Reclaiming Life beyond a group home
Produced by Belonging Matters

This is the story of how Scott Jordan reclaimed his life. With no immediate family and having lived in a group home for 25 years, Scott’s true potential lay dormant. Scott’s story shows how the action of a small group of committed people can make a difference. Lead by Scott’s friend Rachel, they set out on a mission to assist Scott to find a home of his own. Scott now relishes in the comfort of having his own home where his true potential has emerged. He is now developing his passions and interests, surrounded by friends and supporters and is now reclaiming his life.

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This is My Place
Produced by Belonging Matters

Brendon has lived in his own place since 2004. Prior to that he lived in a group home. His complex support needs were not met and as a result he nearly lost his life. Join Brendon, his parents and support workers as they show what is possible when people get their own home with personally tailored and directed supports.

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Individualised Supported Living (ISL)
by Keith McVilly (Produced by Belonging Matters)

In this presentation, Dr Keith McVilly introduces the Indivdualised Supported Living framework as a guide to imagining, planning and ensuring people thrive in their own home.

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Home and belonging
by Cameron Skinner (Produced by Belonging Matters)

Cameron Skinner lived with his parents Maggie and Greg but always knew he wanted his own home. With the support of his folks, his friends, and some brilliant house mates, he is now thriving in his own home.

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Upholding the sanctity of home
by Janet Klees (Produced by Belonging Matters)

What is home to you? What decisions do we making when looking for a home? Who makes our decisions about our home. Also includes Janet Klees video presentation "Distortion of home" and Debs 'Things to consider for a new home' and 'What home means to you'

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Dee's place
by Australian Human Rights Commission (Produced by Belonging Matters)

When Dee turned 18 years of age she told her parents she was not going to live with them for the rest of her life. She did not want to live with a "carer", in a group home or with another person with a disability. She wanted to live in her own home just like her brothers. Watch this video to see what happened!

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What does home mean to You?
by Deb Rouget (Produced by Belonging Matters)

What is home to you? What decisions do we making when looking for a home? In this presentation Deb Rouget explore the crucial question that guide planning.

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Jac's place
by Jaco and Linda Hughes (Produced by Resourcing Inclusive Communities)

Jacob Hughes lives independently in his own home. This video explores how he and the people around him worked to make that a reality

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Home: a place of my own where I belong
by Anita O'Brien

Anita O'Brien discusses how her son Warren moved from her home to a place of his own sharing with housemates.

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Isaac has been living in his own place with a housemate for two years, a pretty typical arrangement for a 24-year-old. But Isaac’s home life could have looked very different if it wasn’t for his family’s strong vision. Isaac has complex support needs, but he’s living a typical and ordinary life in his own home. His mum Sheree explains how Isaac tried different living arrangements and support options to figure out what worked best. She talks about the myths she and Isaac have busted along the way.



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Quality and outcomes of individual supported living (ISL) arrangements for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities 
by Errol Cocks, Stian Thoresen, Patricia O'Brien, and Keith McVilly 

This is the Final Report of the third stage of the research. It provides background detail and the outcomes of evaluating 150 examples of Individualised Supported Living (ISL) “arrangements” in WA, Victoria, and NSW.

Image of Errol Cocks
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Individualised Supported Living Manual Ed 2
by Professor Errol Cocks and Dr Stian Thoresen

The themes of ISL describe what is needed to create and maintain a home for a person with disability. These themes have been developed and explored in two consecutive research projects since 2007. They are the foundation of the ISL Framework and this Manual. As a comprehensive framework, ISL is particularly relevant for persons with significant daily living limitations or who may require substantial support in daily life.

Image of Errol Cocks
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You can't solve homelessness through housing alone. Individualised Supported Living (ISL)
by Keith McVilly

In this article, Dr Keith McVilly summaries the Individualised Supported Living (ISL) framework

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by Sherryn West

Sherryn West reflects on the ways her home is important to her and the role she has played in assisting her sister, who has a disability, in getting a home of her own.

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Living in my home
by Cameron Skinner and Deb Rouget

In this article Cameron Skinner shares his story about living in his own home and Deb Rouget refects on how the Individualised Supported Living (ISL) guides Cameron's living arrangement.

Image of Cameron Skinner sitting on his front porch with his hou
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Personalised residential supports project
by Errol Cocks and Ross Boaden.

In 2009, Errol Cocks and Ross Boaden form Curtin University commenced a research project called the Personalised Residential Supports Project. This research would later become known as Individualised Supported Living and extend to cover three Australian States and 150 living arrangements of people with intellectual disability. The research began to discern what attributes and themes made such arrangement successes. This article describes the initial stages and findings.

Image of Errol Cocks
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How genuinely supportive persons, agencies and systems can enable people to have real homes of their own
by Michael Kendrick.

Michael Kendrick’s article provides a road map about how people with complex needs can have real homes and how genuinely supportive people and systems can uphold an individual’s the sovereignty or control over their own home.

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The inner meaning of home
by Michael Kendrick.

Michael Kendrick persuades us to think deeply about home – beyond a residence or a dwelling. He also discusses the impact of services on home.

Michael Kendrick
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Home Tipsheet
by Belonging Matters

Since 2003, Belonging Matters has journey with many people with intellectual disability and Autism to move beyond tradition group home living to imagine and create a home of their own. This tip sheet shares the wisdom of individuals, families and others and helps us to think about what home really is and isn’t.

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Useful Links

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Tiffany's family home
by JFA Purple Orange & Opening Home

When Tiffany was 33 years old, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. At that time, her son was six years old. Her symptoms progressed quickly, but she remained determined to live together as a family.

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