Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Associate Professor Michael Curtin

Associate Professor Michael Curtin

EdD, MPhil, BOccThy

Michael graduated from the University of Queensland in 1983 with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy. After graduating he worked in Toowoomba, Hobart and Ballarat, primarily with children and young people, for a few years. He then lived in Botswana from 1987 to 1991, where he developed an occupational therapy service in Gaborone, Francistown and surrounding areas. Following this he gained employment as a research occupational therapist for four years at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, England. This led onto a position as an occupational therapy lecturer at the University of Southampton, England, from 1995 to 2003.

Michael returned to Australia at the beginning of 2004 to take up the post of occupational therapy lecturer at Charles Sturt University.  He became Discipline Lead of the occupational therapy course in 2005 and Associate Head of School of Community Health in 2014.

Michael completed his Master of Philosophy, from Oxford Brookes University in 1996. The title of his dissertation was "Tetraplegic Hand Grips". In 2004, he completed his Doctorate of Education, from the University of Southampton. The title for his dissertation was "The Biographies of Young People with Motor Impairment".

Michael has written a number of occupational therapy related journal articles and book chapters, and presented at national and international conferences on a variety of topics. He is the co-author of two World Health Organization manuals, "Promoting the Development of Young Children with Cerebral Palsy: A Guide for Mid-level Rehabilitation Workers" and "Promoting Independence Following a Spinal Cord Injury: A Manual for Mid-Level Rehabilitation Workers". In 2009 Michael authored "Guidelines for Creating Barrier-free Emergency Shelters" on behalf of Handicap International, Nepal.  Michael is also the co-editor of the 6th edition of the occupational therapy textbook "Occupational Therapy and Physical Dysfunction" (2010) and is currently working on the 7th edition (due for publication in 2016).

Positions and Roles
  • Head of School, School of Community Health
  • Academic Coordinator, Occupational Therapy Workplace Learning Experiences
  • Member, Charles Sturt University Human Research Ethics Committee

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Michael has been involved in planning, designing, implementing, and evaluating curriculum since 1995 when he was appointed as a lecturer at the University of Southampton, England.  Since this time he has taught a range of profession specific and inter-disciplinary subject at all pre-registration and post-graduate levels.  His interest is in engaging students in the learning process and in ensuring high-quality and relevant assessments that are coherently linked to subject learning outcomes. During his time in England he was an external examiner for three other occupational therapy schools. As the discipline lead for the occupational therapy course at CSU Michael has worked collaboratively with the occupational therapy team to continually deliver an innovative, current, and progressive curriculum.

Subjects Delivered

Michael has taught numerous subjects such as core occupational therapy assessment and practice skills, assistive technologies, compensation strategies, research, paediatric practice, cardio-vascular practice, neurology, anatomy, professional reasoning, and more recently workplace learning.

Current subjects delivered:

  • OCC100 Occupation and Occupational Therapy
  • OCC320 Occupational Therapy Workplace Learning 1
  • OCC321 Occupational Therapy Workplace Learning 2
  • OCC330 Occupational Therapy Workplace Learning 1 (Honours)
  • OCC331 Occupational Therapy Workplace Learning 1 (Honours)
  • OCC420 Occupational Therapy Workplace Learning 3
  • OCC421 Occupational Therapy Workplace Learning 4
  • OCC430 Occupational Therapy Workplace Learning 3 (Honours)
  • OCC431 Occupational Therapy Workplace Learning 4 (Honours)
Innovations in Teaching

Michael leads the interdisciplinary international program in the School of Community Health. Since 2005 he has been involved organising, running, and developing collaborations for various international fourth year placements for occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech pathology students.  This includes the Vietnam project where up to 12 students work with children with disabilities in Ho Chi Minh City.  More recently a relationship has been established with the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed in Bangladesh, and AutismCare in Nepal, who have begun to offer mutually beneficial opportunities for fourth year placements.  To support these international placements, collaborations with Australian organisation have and are being developed.  These organisations, such as Yooralla and Royal Rehabilitation Centre, provide qualified allied health staff to supervise our students overseas and to provide education for staff and clients at these overseas locations.

Michael, along with Kristy Robson and Kay Skinner, received a 2014 OLT Award for Programs that Enhance Learning for our overseas programs. Michael also became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2015.

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Research and Publications

Fields of Research Codes:  1117 Public Health and Health Services; 1103 Clinical Sciences

Key Terms:  disability, vulnerable groups, human rights and social justice, developing countries biographical / life experiences, phenomenology

Michael's research interest primarily focus on investigating the live experiences of people with disability, their significant others, and the professionals who work with them.  He tends to use qualitative research approaches which are underpinned by biographical and phenomenological philosophies.  However, he is also interested in mix methods, combining quantitative and qualitative approaches, choosing the approach or approaches which will best address the questions being asked.

Michael's research projects are eclectic in their nature.  His masters level research looked at identifying the elements of effective grip for adults with a tetraplegic spinal cord injury.  In his doctoral level research he worked with nine children with cerebral palsy to write and analyse their life stories.  His more recent research interests have ranged from evaluating an older persons' circus skills program, to investigating the participant of adults with brain injury living in regional, rural and remote areas, to working collaboratively with occupational therapy practitioners across Australia to develop a community of practice scholars, to describing the transition experiences of middle aged adults with disabilities, including the evaluation of the effectiveness of therapy packages to assist with a transition.

In all his research projects, Michael is keen to collaborate with other researchers and with the participants.  He is passionate about conducting research in which there is collaboration and involvement between the participants and the researchers, to ensure that the participants voices are heard and are guiding the research process.

List of Publications

Google scholar profile

ORCID profile

Journal Publications

  • Wilding, C, Mears, T, Curtin, M (in press). Understanding and facilitating transition for adults with longstanding disability. International journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation.
  • Gibson, C, Butler, C, Henaway, C, Dudgeon, P, Curtin, M. (2015). Indigenous peoples and human rights: Some considerations for the occupational therapy profession in Australia. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal.62(3), 214-218.
  • Mitsch, V, Curtin, M, Budge, H (2014). The provision of brain injury rehabilitation services for people living in rural and remote New South Wales, Australia. Brain Injury
  • Drummond, J, Curtin, M, Shanahan, L. (2014) "Can you speak English': The effects of The effects of social communication impairment on the life of an adolescent with traumatic brain injury. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology
  • King, D, Curtin, M (2014). Occupational therapists use of advocacy in brain injury rehabilitation settings. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal.
  • Williams CM, Tinley P, Curtin M, Wakefield, S, Nielsen S (2014) Is idiopathic toe walking really idiopathic? The motor skills and sensory processing abilities associated with idiopathic toe walking gait. Journal of Child Neurology, 29(1), 71-78
  • Cusick A, Curtin M, Froude E, Ziviani J, Stanley M, Molineux M, Hoffman T, Morgan D, Joosten A, Kuipers K. (2013). Foundations of the research foundation. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 60(6), 377.
  • Williams CM, Tinley P, Curtin M, Nielsen S. (2013) Foot and ankle characteristics of children with an idiopathic toe walking gait. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, 103(5), 374-379.
  • Parsci L, Curtin M (2013) Experiences of occupational therapists returning to work after maternity leave. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 60(4), 252-259.
  • Williams CM, Tinley P, Curtin M, Nielsen S. (2013). The motor skills and sensory processing abilities associated with idiopathic toe walking gait.  Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 6(Suppl 1), 038.
  • Williams CM, Tinley P, Curtin M, Nielsen S (2012) Vibration perception thresholds in children with idiopathic toe walking gait. Journal of Child Neurology, 27(8), 1017-1021.
  • Williams CM, Tinley P, Curtin M, Nielsen S (2012) Hand preference in children with an idiopathic toe walking gait. Acta Paediatrica, 101(3), e140–e141.
  • Wilding, C., Curtin, M., Whiteford, G. (2012) Enhancing occupational therapist's confidence and professional development through a community of practice scholars. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 59(4), 312-318.
  • Alston M, Jones J, Curtin M (2012) "It's not visible damage": Women and traumatic brain injury.  Australian Social Work, 65(1), 39-53.
  • Jones J, Curtin M (2011) Reformulating masculinity: Traumatic brain injury and the gendered nature of care and domestic roles, Disability and Rehabilitation, 33(17-18), 1568-1578.
  • Shanahan, L, McAllister, L and Curtin, M (2011) The party planning task: A useful tool in the functional assessment of planning skills in adolescents with TBI. Brain Injury, 25(11), 1080-1090.
  • Curtin M, Jones J, Tyson G, Mitsch V, Alston M, McAllister L (2011) Outcome of Participation Objective Participation Subjective Measure Following Traumatic Brain Injury, Brain Injury, 25, 3, 266-273.
  • Williams CM, Tinley P, Curtin M (2010) The Toe Walking Tool: A novel method for assessing idiopathic toe walking children. Gait Posture, 32: 4, 508-511.
  • Williams CM, Tinley P. Curtin M (2010) Idiopathic toe walking and sensory processing dysfunction.  Journal of Foot and Ankle Research,  3(16), 1-6.
  • Farnworth L, Rodger S, Curtin M, Brown G.T. and Gilbert Hunt, S (2010) Occupational therapy entry-level education in Australia: Which path(s) to take? Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 57. 4. 233-238.
  • Jones J, Curtin M (2010) Traumatic brain injury, participation, and rural identity. Qualitative Health Research, 20, 7, 942-951.
  • Shanahan, L, McAllister, L and Curtin, M (2009) Wilderness adventure therapy and cognitive rehabilitation: Joining forces for youth with TBI, Brain Injury, 23: 13, 1054 – 1064.
  • Barbara A, Curtin M (2008) Gatekeepers or advocates? Occupational therapists and equipment funding schemes. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 55, 1, 57-60.
  • Curtin M, Fossey E (2007) Appraising the trustworthiness of qualitative studies: guidelines for occupational therapists. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 54, 88-94.
  • Salmon L, Curtin M, Ginnivan D, Neumayer R (2007) Building sustainable rural research capacity: The experiences of a brain injury rehabilitation service. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 15, 155-158.
  • Curtin M, Murtagh J (2007) Participation of children and young people in research: competence, power and representation. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70(2), 67-72.
  • Loverani M, McCluskey A and Curtin M (2006) Editorial: Critically appraised papers limited high-quality research on effectiveness of assistive technology. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 53(1). 50.
  • Curtin M, Clarke G (2005) Living with impairment: learning from disabled young people's biographies.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(9), 401-408.
  • Curtin M, Clarke G (2005) Listening to young people with physical disabilities' experiences of education. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 52(3), 195-214.
  • Pitt V, Curtin M (2004) Integration versus segregation: the experiences of a group of disabled students moving from mainstream school into special needs further education.  Disability and Society, 19(4), 387-401.
  • Curtin M, Jaramazovic E (2001)  Occupational therapists' views and perceptions of evidence-based practice.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64(5), 214-222.
  • Bishopp K, Curtin M (2001)  The TVPS, MVPT and VMI: what influences a therapist's choice.  National Association of Paediatric Occupational Therapists Journal, 5(1), 8-11.
  • Curtin M (1999)  Ensuring credibility and accessibility through referencing.  British
    Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62(11), 485.
  • Curtin M (1999) Commentaries on research papers.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62(10), 483.
  • Curtin M (1999)  An analysis of tetraplegic hand grips.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62(10), 444-450.
  • Curtin M (1998)  Environmental control systems and the NHS supplies contract.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61(11), 517-518.
  • Curtin M, Alderton J  (1998)  A foglalkoztato terapia (ergoterapia) a serult emberek Fuggetlensegeert (Occupational Therapy: Working Towards Independence for Clients who have an Impairment).  Nover, Junius 11. EVF 3 SZAM.
  • Curtin M (1998)  Publishing your paper: the inside story.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61(1), 1.
  • Curtin M, Powell H.  (1997)  Responding to individuals in the computer resource room.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 60(10), 461-462.
  • Chapman J, Curtin M (1997)  Student assessment in the school of occupational therapy and physiotherapy.  Southampton Health Journal, 13(2), 8-12.
  • Curtin M, Clarke H.  (1997)  Choosing a powered wheelchair: the choice of a client dependent on a ventilator.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 60(4), 156-160.
  • Curtin M (1997)  Feel like writing a short report for the journal.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 60(2), 49.
  • Ballinger C, Curtin M, Eakin P, Hollis V, Nicol M, Telford R.  (1996) Writing an abstract. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 59 (1), 33-35.
  • Curtin M (1995)  Collaborative research: the next step.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 58(11), 457.
  • Curtin M (1994)  Technology for people with tetraplegia: additional information.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57(11), 449.
  • Curtin M (1994) Technology for people with tetraplegia, part 2: environmental control units.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57(11), 419-424.
  • Curtin M (1994)  Technology for tetraplegia.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy,  57(10), 400.
  • Curtin M (1994) Technology for people with tetraplegia, part 1: accessing computers.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57(10), 376-380.
  • Curtin M (1994) Tetraplegic hand assessment and splinting protocol.  Paraplegia, 32, 159-169.
  • Curtin M (1993)  The management of the C6 quadriplegic patient's hand.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 56(12), 455.
  • Curtin M (1993) Powered wheelchairs and tetraplegic patients: improving the service.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 56(6), 204-206.

Chapter and Book Publications

  • Shanahan, L., McAllister, L., Curtin, M. (2011) Listening to adolescents after traumatic brain injury. In S. Roulstone and S. McLeod (Eds.), Listening to children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. London: J & R Press Ltd., 203-210.
  • McAllister, L., Curtin, M., O'Connor, B., Vroman, K (2010) International fieldwork education placements. In L McAllister, M Paterson, J Higgs, C Bithell (eds) Innovations in allied health fieldwork education: A critical appraisal. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 49-58.
  • Curtin M (2010) Enabling skills and strategies.  In M Curtin, M Molineux, J Supyk-Mellson (eds) Occupational therapy and physical dysfunction: Enabling occupation (6th ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 111-124.
  • Curtin M, Molineux M, Supyk J (eds.) (2010) Occupational therapy and physical dysfunction: Enabling occupation (6th ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
  • Curtin M (2009) Guidelines for creating barrier-free emergency shelters. Kathmandu: Handicap International.
  • Whiteford G, Wilding C, Curtin M (2009) Writing as practice enquiry: towards a scholarship of practice. In J Higgs, D Horsfall, S Grace (eds.) Writing qualitative research on practice. Sense Publishers, 27-36,
  • Curtin M (2006) Using biographical research with disabled young people.  In L Finlay, C Ballinger, B Stewart (eds.) Qualitative Research for Health Professionals: Challenging Choices. London: John Wiley and Sons Limited, 125-138.
  • Curtin M, Jaramazovic E (2004) Exploring views and perceptions of evidence-based practice: influencing practice. In K Hammell, C Carpenter (eds.) Qualitative research in evidence-based rehabilitation. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 116-128.
  • Cox Martin S, Curtin M  (2002) Spinal Cord Lesions.  In A Turner, M Foster, S Johnson, Occupational Therapy and Physical Dysfunction: Principles, Skills and Practice (4th ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 417-440.
  • Curtin M, Harrison G.  (1997) Promoting independence following spinal cord injury: a guide for mid-level rehabilitation workers.  Geneva: World Health Organisation, 102 pages.
  • Carrington ME, Curtin M (1993) Promoting the development of young children with cerebral palsy: a guide for mid-level rehabilitation workers.  Geneva: World Health Organisation, 80 pages.


  • Wilding C, Mears T, Curtin M (2014)  Adult Transition Project for People with Disability in New South Wales: Parts 1 and 2.  Northcott, Sydney.  Funded by:  Ageing, Disability and Home Care, Department of Family and Community Services (ADHC), NSW
  • Bartkowiak I, Curtin M, Young I, Nelson W (2012)  Towards resolution: Effective responses to child sexual abuse; Phase 1: Mapping disclosures of, and responses to, child sexual abuse.  Charles Sturt University, University of Tasmania, NSW Police Force, and Gateway Community Health.
  • Curtin M, Jones J, Mitsch V, Alston M, McAllister L, Ginnivan D, Salmon L, Winkworth A, Neumayer R, Trevethan R (2008) Participation following traumatic brain injury for people residing in rural and regional areas of NSW. Charles Sturt University and South West Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service.
  • Bartkowiak-Theron I, Curtin M, Young I (2008) Fly white balloon and child sexual abuse: a study of community perceptions in regional Australia.  Charles Sturt University and Upper Hume Community Health Service.
  • Curtin M (2006) Fruit bats: a qualitative study of an older person's circus skills training programme. Charles Sturt University and Upper Hume Community Health Service.
  • Curtin M (2000) Occupational Therapy and the Use of Evidence-based Practice. University of Southampton.

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Community Engagement

Michael has been an active member of Occupational Therapy Australia and the British Association of Occupational Therapists throughout his career.  He has held various positions in the Associations including: chair of local occupational therapy group, member of the BAOT Research Committee, member of editorial board for British Journal of Occupational Therapy, reviewer for the British Journal of Occupational Therapy and the Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, and British alternate delegate for World Federation of Occupational Therapists.  He has also been on the scientific panel for a number of national, and an international, conferences.  During 2011 to 2013 Michael chaired the Occupational Therapy Australia Research Working Party which has lead to the establishment of a Research Foundation and the appointment of the inaugural Research Foundation Committee.

Memberships and Affiliations
  • AHPRA Registered Occupational Therapist
  • Member of Occupational Therapy Australia Limited
  • Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy

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