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Would you like to find out more about peer support groups in WA?


Are you looking for a service provider?

Click here to find:

- the link to the list of disability service organisations which provide service on behalf of Disability Services Commission, sorted by region: REGION

- the list of services registered to provide services under NDIS in our State: WA

Are you interested in participating in research projects?





Telethon Kids Institute has developed a questionnaire to measure 'quality of life' in children with Down Syndrome.

They are seeking parents with a school aged child or adolescent with Down syndrome to road test their new questionnaire.

Siblings Australia is running a project, "Creating Capacity: Support for Adult Siblings Project" to build the capacity of siblings to understand the NDIS and to support their brothers and sister with disbility in the transition to the NDIS environment.

A reference group is being set up to guide the implementation of the project, and the group will oversee the governance and help maximise outcomes for siblings, people living with disability and their broader families in the light of the NDIS.

If you would like to find out more about this project, or be part of the reference group:



Click on the image above to read the report....

"The lives of people with disability are often secret lives. We are routinely segregated and isolated from our non-disabled peers – we live, work and play in places which are not often frequented by those without disability. Often, we are lonely. If we do not have families, paid staff are sometimes the only people in our lives. We are shut out by barriers to participation in Australian life, and shut in when we are hidden in institutional settings."

(Report authors Samantha Connor and Ben Keely)

The Peer Connect website is for people living with disability, their families and supporters.

The website has information about having choice and control in your life, the NDIS, connecting with Peer Support Networks and getting involved with your community.


Duchenne Foundation in WA have published a great new story for children called "That's What Wings Are For". Part proceeds from sales of the book will go to the Duchenne Foundation.

Read more about it here, including an author interview 






What's Happening
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  June 2017:

Hanson comments miss the point on inclusive education

Click to read the media release

June 2016:


DDWA made a submission to the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) in response to their survey on Reporting on Students with Disability on My School website.

DDWA believes it is important to be clear about the purpose of reporting on students with disability on My School website before determining which is the best way for such information to be presented.

DDWA also considers that there may be better ways to present the type of information parents are looking for when making education choices for their child, and we have made a number of recommendations to ACARA. 

Click on the button below if you would like to read our submission...

(click here for a word version: WORD)

Disability Standards for Education 2005

The Disability Standards for Education 2005 sets out the obligations of education and training providers to ensure that students with disability can access and participate in education and training on the same basis as those without disability.

Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability

From 2015, all government and non-government schools in Australia will participate in the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability. The first data collection took place in selected schools in October 2013.

Positive Partnerships

The Positive Partnerships programme is the education component of the Australian Government’s Helping Children with Autism package. The programme works to build partnerships between schools and families to improve educational outcomes for students on the autism spectrum. 

Completed Initiatives

More Support for Students with Disabilities

Under the More Support for Students with Disabilities initiative, the Australian Government provided additional funding to government and non-government education authorities to support services for students with disability or learning difficulties, contributing to improved student learning experiences, educational outcomes and transitions to further education or work.

Child Care and Early Learning

The Government has a Ministerial Advisory Council on Child Care and Early Learning. Commencing in July 2016 the ISP objectives are to:

  • support mainstream child care services improve their capacity and capability to include children with additional needs
  • provide parents and carers with access to appropriate child care  to assist them participate in the workforce.

Read more about the Inclusion Support Program here: ISP



February 2016:

Would you like to be part of our work in improving education opportunities for students with disability in 2016?

Would you like to be kept informed of our work in this important area?

For most students in Western Australia, the school year began on the 1st or 2nd of February 2016. 

The West Australian Newspaper on 18th January featured an article by Lorna Woodley, General Manager WA for The Smith Family - “Parental engagement key tool towards child’s learning success”. Lorna says it’s a timely reminder that a child’s education is about more than what happens in the classroom.

There is an expectation that parents will know how to support their child’s learning, but they may be time poor or lack some of the confidence and skills to help their children with their education.

Likewise, Lorna says that many teachers, particularly new teachers, feel ill-equipped to engage parents in their children’s education. She suggests that guidance for teachers on how to navigate and develop these important relationships – with families, schools and communities, would also help bridge this gap.

At DDWA we have been working with parents, families, teachers, education assistants and others, and we will continue our work throughout 2016, because we know that parental engagement is vital, and that parents and educators have made the call for additional support to make that work.

We know that the more that can be done to facilitate parents’ engagement in their children’s learning, the better the long-term outcomes will be. We've been working with parents and families who have been increasing their own individual advocacy skills and their technical and general understanding of how education systems can work better for their child, at our workshops and forums which are presented by education professionals with many years  and wide-ranging  experience as well as by parents who have shared real and practical examples of what has worked and what hasn't.

We also have a range of resources which are available to the public.

In 2015 our workshops and presentations relevant to people interested in education, included advocacy in education; planning and making choices for your child; goal setting; individual education plans; workshops for teachers and education assistants (positive behaviour support in schools, curriculum planning); supporting children with anxiety & depressive disorders; family advocacy.

We are developing our 2016 schedule of workshops and other events which will include continued opportunities for families, and education professionals, and we are adding to the resources mentioned above.

Our work includes responding  to the recommendations in the report by the Senate Committee for the Inquiry into the Review of Disability Standards, many of which reflect our own recommendations to their inquiry in our submission to that Inquiry. Our work also includes responding to the Senate Committee Inquiry into current levels of access and attainment for students with disability in the school system, and the impact on students and families associated with inadequate levels of support. 

We need to keep hearing from you about your experiences – good or bad - to help us progress this important work. If you'd like to be part of this change, attend our workshops and find out more about resources, contact us by sending us an email here: EMAIL or phone us on 9420 7203.  


December 2015:

The Disability Standards for Education (2005) are required to be reviewed every 5 years.

In 2015 the Standards were reviewed for the second time, and DDWA contributed a submission to this Inquiry which was held by the Senate Committee on Community Affairs.  

The Committee reported on the Inquiry into the review of the Standards in July 2015 and released the report later this year.  We are pleased that a number of our recommendations are reflected in the recommendations of the Report and we will be working to see these and other objectives are progressed throughout 2016.

You can read a word version of the Report by clicking on the image below. You can also read our Submission to the Inquiry here. 


November 2015:

Autism Specific School in Perth

 A number of  members of DDWA and numerous other people in WA are supporting moves to establish an Autism Specific School in WA. John McGlue spoke about this on his morning program on ABC Perth.

Taryn Harvey called in to say that an Autism Specific School was one of a number of options members of DDWA consider when looking at choices for their child's schooling, and people with Autism and their families represent the highest proportion of our new members which is growing significantly each week. Taryn invited the Education Department to engage with organisations like DDWA, which are in direct and regular contact with individuals and groups in the community and work together to provide the best options and outcomes for children with disability in Education.

Telethon Kids Institute head of autism research Professor Andrew Whitehouse says WA is the only major State in Australia not to have an autism-specific school. NSW, Queensland and Victoria have several autism-specific schools and South Australia will have one in 2016. Professor Whitehouse says that there is some evidence autism-specific schools may be beneficial to some but not all children with autism.

Martin Clery of the WA Education Department says that the rise in students with autism in WA reflects international trends, and that the Education Department continues to believe the best way for students with autism to reach their potential is to mis with other students in mainstream schools, with additional support provided when required.  

Parents of children with autism, in WA, have been working with Eastern States organisations to investigate the viability of an autism specific school in WA and information will be posted on this site as developments progress. 


2015 Review of the Disability Standards for Education (2005)Click on the image to open and read our submission 

The Disability Standards for Education were made under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (the DDA).

The DDA makes it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of disability in a number of areas of public life, including education.  

Other areas the DDA covers include employment, the provision of goods and services, and access to public buildings.

The Minister for Education and Training, in consultation with the Attorney-General, is required to conduct a review of the effectiveness of the Standards every five years. 

Read more about the Disability Standards for Education here

and read our joint submission with PWdWA, to the Review of the Standards, here (PDF) or (WORD)







May 2015:


Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder is found in all social groups, in all areas, across WA, across Australia, and across the world.

Understanding and addressing the needs of children and young people living with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) - this is a resource which includes a 40 page resource for teachers; you tube videos

Dr James Fitzpatrick is a consultant paediatrician, founder and Director of Patches Paediatrics, a child health service that is revolutionalising child health services in remote communities.  Watch his TEDx Talks

(more information on FASD here)


April 2015:

Following revelations about an incident at a Canberra school, in which a child with autism was put into a 2 metre x 2 metre enclosure made of pool fencing, the Federal Opposition has called for a national inquiry into the education of children with disabilities.

Read more about the Opposition's call for an inquiry here....

Read articles about this story here:

Article, Canberra Times

Article, Sydney Morning Herald

January 2015:

In December 2014 reports in The West Australian and online news stated that Federal Government cuts to the State Government schools' chaplaincy program would be covered by 'special needs' money in the Education Department to make sure the chaplaincy program could continue in 2015.

We were concerned, we have written to the Minister, many of our members were concerned and so were others in the community who wrote to Letters to the Editor at The West Australian.

The Minister for Education, Peter Collier, said on 31 December 2014

"There has been some confusion and concern caused by the reference to "special   needs" funding being used to pay for more chaplains in public schools (Chaplain funds could be better spent, December 26). I can confirm that "special needs" or students with disability will not be affected in any way by our decision to make up the $1.45 million shortfall caused by reduced Federal Government funding. This program will be resourced through the Department of Education's budget. No programs will be cut in order to enable more public schools to access an  in-school chaplain in 2015." (Letters to the Editor, The West Australian, 31 December 2014)


December 2014:

We have been pleased to partner with Early Childhood Intervention Australia (ECIA) WA Chapter this year and look forward to our ongoing work with them in 2015. 

Whether your child is starting school in 2015, or you are looking at the options that are available, or would just like to read through to find information about education, schooling and related topics you will find Starting School a valuable resource - click on the image to open and read it.


November 2014:

Meeting Student Sensory Needs

Durham Road School has recorded their online version of the workshop "Meeting Student Sensory Needs". This recording is available free for Department of Education staff to view at any time through the following link: Web collaboration 

As a Teacher Development School, Durham Road School is also able to provide additional support to public schools on request (e.g. work shadowing opportunities, walk through tours, teleconferencing and discussion, formal PD etc.).


July 2014: Nationally Consistent Data Collection Initiative 

The national data collection initiative starts nationally in 2015, with trials occurring this year and last.

Not enough is currently known about students with disability at the national level to enable governments to target support and resources in schools to help all students to reach their full potential. A nationally consistent approach to collecting data on students with disability will give governments, schools and education authorities information about how many students with disability are enrolled in Australian schools, where they are located and the level of adjustments provided for them to participate in schooling on the same basis as other students.

Data will be used to gain a clearer picture of the needs of students with disability, and give more support to schools so that they can better understand and implement their core responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005.

A professional learning resource has been developed by Educational Services Australia (ESA), to help principals, teachers and other school staff learn about the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability. This resource identifies and guides participants through the four steps for completing the data collection. Other resources have been developed to assist schools with understanding and using the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability – these include fact sheets, frequently asked questions, school stories and notices.

In addition, a number of resources have been developed to help parents and carers with understanding the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability and how it may affect your child – these include fact sheets, frequently asked questions and a privacy notice.

Read more about the initiative here: Nationally Consistent Data Collection



At the Better Start website you can find out about funding available for improved access to early intervention services.  Eligible children will be able to access up to $12,000 in early intervention funding. Click here for more information on Better Start.