Dr Brian Matthews

Photo of Brian Matthews
Position/s:Adjunct Senior Lecturer
Disability and Community Inclusion
Phone: -
Location: - (-)
Postal address: GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia


Brian had a 20 year career in Disability before commencing as a Lecturer at Flinders University in 1992. He was the Course Coordinator of the Bachelor of Disability and Developmental Education and previous degrees for five years between 1992 and 2012 and the Head of Unit for three years until December 2012. Now retired, he maintains his association with Disability and Community Inclusion in the supervision of PhD students as well as acting as a cosupervisor/external advisor on disability issues for PhD students in Regional and Rural Health (Flinders), Education (Flinders), Psychology (Flinders), and Education (Adelaide). He has also worked as a part time Problem Based Learning tutor in the first and second years of the Flinders University Medical course and does occasional lectures, tutoring and marking in disability and education topics.


  • Registered Mental Deficiency Nurse (1975 - 1985)
  • BA, Flinders University,  1979
  • BA Honours (1st Class), Psychology, Flinders University, 1980
  • PhD, Psychology, Flinders University, 1995

Honours, awards and grants

  • 1979 - Australian Psychological Society Prize in Psychology
  • May 1987 - Early Researcher prize for conference presentation Reducing Self Stimulatory, Aggressive, and Self Injurious Behaviours at 9th National Conference of the Australian Behaviour Modification Association , Gold Coast, Qld.
  • November 2004 – Winner of the "Open" Category for presentation of the Conference Paper Narrative Therapy: potential uses for people with an Intellectual Disability presented at Visions and Realities, 39th Conference of the Australasian Society for the Study of Intellectual Disability, Adelaide, South Australia
  • May 2011 – Life Membership of the Australasian Disability Professionals, for services to the professionalisation of the disability field.
  • December 2012, The Dean's Award 2012, for dedication and service over many years to the School of Medicine, Flinders University

Key responsibilities

  • Mentor and advisor to Head of Unit
  • PhD supervision 


Teaching interests

  • Intellectual Disability
  • Autism
  • Instructional Methods
  • Augmentative & Alternative Communication
  • Communication and Language Development
  • Positive Behaviour Support

Research and supervision

Research expertise

  • Disability
  • Psychology

Research interests

  • Most areas of disability
  • Using single-subject/small group methodologies
  • Cross cultural issues in disability 

Supervisory interests

  • Ageing and disability
  • Augmentative communication
  • Autism and Asperger disorders
  • Brain injury
  • Down Syndrome
  • Nursing and disability
  • Refugees and disability

RHD research supervision


Principal supervisor: Disability related issues (4);


Book chapters
  • Ellison, C.J. and Matthews, B.E. (2012). Disability Professionals: Assisting People Living with Disability to Navigate the Health System. In E Willis, H Keleher & L Reynolds, ed. Understanding the Australian Health Care System. 2nd ed. Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier, pp. 175-187.
Journal articles
  • Matthews, B.E. (2005). Beyond the wall: personal experiences with autism and Asperger syndrome [book review] Autism, 9(1) pp. 119-119. [doi:10.1177/1362361305049034]
  • Matthews, B.E. (2003). A picture's worth: PECS and other visual communication strategies in autism by A Bondy & L Frost (Book Review) Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 28(3) pp. 311-312.

Professional and community engagement

Before retiring, had active community and professional involvement, including active involvement in professional associations, and non-government, not for profit agencies that provide services to people with disabilities. These include:

  • Past Member (Minister's Nominee) to the Ministerial Advisory Committee (Department of Education & Children’s Services) (2006 - 2010)
  • Past Member of the Board of the Down Syndrome Society of South Australia(2001 – 2007)
  • Past Member of the Board of Finding Workable Solutions (FWS) Inc (2002 – 2007)
  •  Past Member of the Board of Community Accommodation and Respite Agency (CARA) (2005 – 2007) 
  • Chair, Project Steering Committee, Towards a seamless interface: An investigation of the barriers and gaps at the interface of disability and community aged care service provision. ACROD Report launched October 2004 
  • Conference Committee Member, past Secretary, Treasurer, and Chair of theDisAbility and Rehabilitation Professionals' Association (dArpa). Was the Program Convenor for three State Conferences of this group (December, 2002; January 2005; July 2007) 
  • Inaugural Chairperson of Australasian Disability Professionals – SA Chapter which superseded the formerly mentioned dArpa in November 2009 
  • Board Director, Australasian Disability Professionals (2009-2013)
  • Member of the Conference Program Committee for the 39th National Conference of the Australasian Society for the Study of Intellectual Disability - Visions and Realities, November 2004 
  • Member of the Conference Program Committee for the National Conference of the Australian Cerebral Palsy Association (March 2005)

Expertise for media contact

  • Behaviour Management
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
  • Narrative Therapy and Disability
  • Technology and Disability
  • Intellectual Disability behavioural programming, communication
  • Autism stimulus control, functional communication training, reducing challenging behaviours
  • Disability
  • Methods of Flexible Delivery and Disability Access to Study Materials


  • Autism
  • Behaviour
  • Disability

inspiring achievement