Dr Michele Verdonck

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Dr Michele Verdonck


Teaching areas

  • OCC311 Enabling Occupation: The Adult
  • OCC222 Neurological Causes of Occupational Dysfunction
  • OCC412 Occupational Therapy as a Complex Process

Research areas

  • spinal cord injury
  • mainstream technology
  • assistive technology
  • occupational therapists use of technology
  • environmental control systems


Michèle joined the USC Occupational Therapy team in 2013. Prior to her USC appointment she enjoyed working as an occupational therapist at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, in Dublin Ireland.

Michèle graduated as an Occupational therapist from The University of The Witwatersrand in 1996. She spent the first years of her early career working at Natalspruit Hospital in Khatlehong, South Africa where she developed a keen interest in spinal cord injury rehabilitation. Her clinical experience in South Africa and Ireland developed several special interest areas including: teaching wheelchair skills; wheelchair transfers, the application of the Bobath approach in incomplete spinal cord injury rehabilitation, functional electrical stimulation and the use of technology.

She was awarded a PhD from the University College Cork, Ireland having received a Health Research Board of Ireland doctoral fellowship. This allowed her to explore the experience of using environmental control systems for people with spinal cord injury.

Michèle has a strong interest in the use of technologies in meaningful occupation. Her work includes supporting occupational therapists in the use of mainstream technologies in everyday clinical practice. She was also involved in the establishment of an electronic assistive technology service. Michele’s research collaborators include LifeTec, Brisbane; Queensland Health Spinal Outreach Team; The National Rehabilitation Hospital, Ireland and University of Manitoba, Canada

Michèle is eager to share her clinical experience with students and facilitate their growth to become confident clinicians.


  • Advance Teaching Award: AQT Award for Advancing Quality Teaching, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2015
  • Advance Teaching Award: Able Award – Advancing the Blended Learning Environment, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2014
  • Health Research Board, Ireland, Research Fellowship for the Clinical Therapies, CTFP-06-15 (2007-2012)

Professional memberships

  • ARATA, Australian Rehabilitation & Assistive Technology Association
  • Occupational Therapy Australia 

Potential research projects for HDR and Honours students

  • Assistive technology
  • Mainstream technology
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Adaptive sport

Research grants

  • Health Research Board, Ireland Research Fellowship for the Clinical Therapies, CTFP-06-15 Funding awarded: €256,528.11/ A$323,293.22 (2007-2012)
  • Exploratory Learning and Teaching Grant: Supporting Innovative Blended Learning – Exploring the experience of learning and teaching in a
  • technology‐enabled tiered lecture theatre, 2015, USC Funding value A$36,091.53 (project lead)
  • CHI collaborative Seed Grant: What meaning do individuals who use wheeled mobility devices (including wheelchairs and scooters) ascribe to these devices? 2015, A$1,519.26 (lead researcher)
  • Enhancement Learning and Teaching Grant: Using Pebble+ to track learning and create stepping-stones to development of an ePortfolio for transition to practice in occupational therapy. 2015, A$133,972.47 (Co-researcher, Lead: Anita Hamilton)
  • Enhancement Learning and Teaching grant: Mapping and evaluating the flipped classroom at USC: Integrative teaching and learning, 2015, A$429,600 (Co-researcher, Lead Jane Taylor)
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