Disability Employment Australia. Represent, Support, Resource

Hall of Fame

Dr Vivienne Riches - Awarded August 2013

Clinical Associate Professor Dr Vivienne Riches has made an outstanding impact to the betterment of the lives of people with disability in Australia, in particularly to people with intellectual disability.  

She is a registered psychologist at the Centre for Disability Studies, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, and has made extensive and innovative contributions to research, teaching and clinical practice.

Vivienne has worked in the disability field since 1976 and has undertaken significant research and development work in the areas of vocational training and employment, transition to work for people with disability, as well as social skills and emotional well-being.

Vivienne was involved in developing individual program plans, a forerunner to person-centred plans for employment, community living and day activity programs. Her work was a pre-runner to the 1983 Review of Handicapped Programs, and contributed to the Principles of the subsequent 1986 Disability Services Act.

Vivienne contributed significantly to best practice in devising skills-based instruction strategies. Her work recognised the complementary nature of work and social skills in effecting the placement and long-term maintenance of people with intellectual disability, in particular into open employment.

Vivienne led the development of numerous employment related training packages. She has also contributed to research projects supported by Disability Employment Australia.

Throughout her long research and teaching career, Vivienne has been at the cutting edge of innovative policy strategies to improve the quality of life of people with disability, especially in the area of employment. 

One of her most innovative contributions was the development and validation of the I-CAN Supports Needs Assessment Instrument. This addresses level of support needs rather than an assessment of level of impairment – which we know is often a poor indicator of a person’s potential for successful employment.

Vivienne has published more than 100 articles, as well as a number of books, and a range of other resources.

Vivienne is well deserving of a place in Disability Employment Australia’s Hall of Fame.