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Cornelia found that having skilled evaluators made all the difference to understanding the effectiveness of a programme for people with disabilities.

Cornelia Baumgartner

Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower Trust
03 543 2669

Evaluating the Fullpower Healthy Relationships programme with people with a disability.

When it ran

2009 to 2016.


People with disabilities

The goal

We wanted to find out:

  • what works for people with learning disabilities
  • how we could ensure that caregivers are on the same page in order to build a safe environment
  • how we could evaluate the programme in effective and ethically sound ways that weren't reliant on language or literacy.

What we did

Wrote comic-style stories for role play

We used comic-style stories to role play a set of simple skills that prevent victimisation and perpetration.

When writing them, we worked alongside with people with disabilities, advocates and supporters to:

  • better assess their needs
  • develop a resource that encourages repeated practice of social skills.

The concept is based on the cutting edge, yet well-tested, experiential methods of Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International.

Its executive director and founder Irene van der Zande generously offered expertise and gave permission to adapt her copyrighted educational resources.


Caregivers as coaches

We engaged caregivers as coaches, which means they learned alongside the people with learning disabilities.

Professional evaluators with the right skills

We worked hard to educate different external evaluators over the years about the experiential and ethical issues until we finally found SAMS, an organisation whose primary focus is to work in partnership with people with a disability, their families and whānau, agencies and other stakeholders to improve community services for people with a disability or mental health issues.


The outcome

A healthy relationships programme resource kit

We created a resource kit with animated stories, workbooks, a facilitator’s guide, and four posters covering these themes:

Enjoying Healthy Relationships

  • What are Healthy Relationships?
  • When Something is Necessary for Health and Safety
  • Making and Keeping Friends

Saying What You Want

  • Speaking Up
  • Listening to What Others Want
  • Being a Caring Person

Getting Help

  • What is Urgent?
  • Where to Get Help
  • How to Get Help
  • Understanding Your Right to Good Support

Healthy relationships resources

Heightened empowerment

The experiential, success-based and interactive approach helped the students learn and apply empowerment, self-advocacy, positive social interaction and personal safety skills.

Evaluator–participant relationship

The evaluator built a relationship with the participants, which was a key factor in successfully evaluating their learning. She produced well-founded qualitative and quantitative reports on the effectiveness of the programme.

Healthy relationships review report

Lessons learnt

If we were to evaluate the programme again, we'd:

  • continue to follow the "nothing about us without us" approach. It takes time but is important for success.
  • only use professional evaluators who have extensive experience with intellectual disabilities (or young children) and an understanding of how to evaluate experiential programmes with disabled people (or young children) in safe and effective ways. “It’s not something you can learn from books or at university.”
  • further evolve tools to measure non-verbalised learning. 


“What was most apparent when observing the Healthy Relationships programme in operation was the fun people had when practicing the scenarios with peers.”
— Dr.Christine Wilson, Evaluator