The dynamics of the relationship between young people with disability and their support worker have been captured in a new book produced as part of a national research project.

Research uses photography to highlight support relationships

The book, Relationships and Recognition: Photos about Working Together, is a collection of photos taken by 40 pairs of young people and support workers from six different parts of Australia who have shared their stories of their support relationship.

The book forms one part of a research project exploring what helps young people with cognitive disability and their paid support workers in their work together.

Lead investigator Dr Sally Robinson from the Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University said the pairs took photos over several weeks of how they spend their time together and the activities they like to participate in.

“Through talking with people and then seeing the photos they decided to take, we learned a lot about what matters to both young people and to workers,” she said.

“The importance of respect in relationships is clear, and the good humour and sense of companionship between many of the pairs comes through strongly in their photos.

“The book was developed so that the people in the project could see what mattered to people in other parts of the country who were also involved, and also to form a lasting token of thanks for their involvement.”

Partners in the project are the Southern Cross University Centre for Children and Young People, UNSW Social Policy Research Centre, University of Dundee, NSW Family and Community Services, Northcott, and National Disability Services.

The research project runs until 2018 and aims to better understand how support relationships work and how these relationships contribute to a sense of identity for both the support worker and person with disability.

To read more about the project and download an online version of the book click here.

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