About Dr Margaret Spencer

My doctoral research involved the development and piloting of a collaborative and accessible assessment process to facilitate shared decision-making between family workers and parents with intellectual disabilities about supports required for parenting. The thesis is entitled “Beyond measure: understanding and planning support with parents with intellectual disabilities.”

Over the past 23 years I have forged strong relationships with National and international researchers and practitioners in the area of parenting with intellectual disabilities. I am currently an executive member on the Parenting Special Interest Research Group (SIRG) of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD) and member of the Australasian Society for Intellectual Disabilities.


keywords: disability and parenting, disability, sexuality and reproductive rights, pathways to parenthood, parenting with intellectual disabilities, social support networks of parents with intellectual disabilities, children whose parents have intellectual disabilities, parents with intellectual disabilities, Child Protection & Out of Home Care Systems, pathways to parenthood and parenting with intellectual disability in Asia/Pacific, adult guardianship, inclusive and participatory practices, elder abuse, social work education, icnclusive pedagogy and assessment practices, international students’ learning experience, international field placements


View Margaret's profile page here.

Selected publications

  • Collings, S., Wright, A., Spencer, M. (2019). Family connections and contact study: Final report, Sydney, Australia: Institute of Open Adoption Studies, The University of Sydney. [More Information]
  • Collings, S., Wright, A., Spencer, M., Luu, B. (2019). How foster carers experience agency support for birth family contact. Child and Family Social Work, Online first. [More Information]
  • Collings, S., Spencer, M., Dew, A., Dowse, L. (2018). 'She was there if I needed to talk or to try and get my point across': Specialist advocacy for parents with intellectual disability in the Australian child protection system. Australian Journal of Human Rights, 24(2), 162-181. [More Information]
  • Collings, S., Dew, A., Gordon, T., Spencer, M., Dowse, L. (2018). Intersectional disadvantage: Exploring differences between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal parents with intellectual disability in the New South Wales child protection system. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 12(2), 170-189. [More Information]
  • Luu, B., Collings, S., Wright, A., Pope, S., Spencer, M. (2018). Open adoption of children in NSW out‐of‐home care: Foster carers' perceptions about the motivations and barriers, Australia: Institute of Open Adoption Studies, The University of Sydney. [More Information]