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Do you or someone you know use assistive technology? 

AT Chat is a peer to peer information and communication hub

created by people with disability for people with people with disability. 

See video here

AT Chat is being launched at a party on 

Friday 13th October 4.30pm-8.00pm

click on the flyer below for more details





DDWA is a not-for-profit organisation and all donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Your donation will contribute towards

- more workshops, information sessions and training for individuals, their family members and the people who support them 
- more resources being developed for families and professionals 

 - more advocacy and support for people in our community

- more advocacy and representation to the decision makers on the issues you let us know about and work on with us

Please get in touch if you are interested in supporting or sponsoring the work of DDWA.



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?


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 






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2 May 2016:

Click on image to open the report on the Inquiry

In November last year DDWA took part in consultations with the Human Rights Commission during their Willing to Work: National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination Against Older Australians and Australians with Disability.

The report of this Inquiry was released today. Click on the image to open a PDF or here for a WORD version.

The Inquiry found "that too many people are shut out of work because of underlying assumptions, stereotypes or myths associated with their age or their disability. These beliefs lead to discriminatory behaviours during recruitment, in the workplace and in decisions about training, promotion and retirement, voluntary and involuntary. The cost and impact of this is high, for individuals and for our economy."

The report has confirmed, again, that Australia lags behind similar countries in terms of employment of older people and people with disability, that labour force participation for people with disability n Australia has changed little over the past 20 years.

The Inquiry also learned there is a pervasive lack of understanding among employers of the range, type and impact of different disabilities, and a perception that workplace adjustments are costly and difficult.

Also, the operation of some government policies create disincentives to workforce participation, and programs and subsidies to encourage businesses to employ older workers or workers with disability in many cases have only limited impact.

Addressing these systemic issues requires a response at multiple levels. 

  • The Inquiry recommends a range of practical strategies and new systematic monitoring of progress and outcomes. These changes are to be underpinnned by community education and awareness, supported by accessible information and the removal of policy barriers. 

There are several key recommendations including: 

  • Developing national action plan to address employment discrimination and lift the labour force participation of older people and people with disability;
  • Introducing national education campaigns to dispel myths and stereotypes about older people and people with disability;
  • Adopting targets for employment and retention of older people and people with disability in the public service.

DDWA is looking to action and commitment resulting from these findings and intensify efforts to address employment discrimination, remove policy barriers and lift labour force participation of older people and people with disability who are willing to work.

DDWA will be looking to the recommendations closely and will be seeking information on the timelines for these recommendations to be adopted. We will be looking at the policy barriers which will be removed, and the efforts which will be made, to increase labour market participation for people willing to work.


 14 April 2016:

The Assistant Minister for Disability Services, Jane Prentice MP, has said there is a clear need for improved engagement and support for employers so that more people with disability will be employed in Australia.

"We need to bring employers into the discussion more broadly, and to increase their awareness of the support available. Employers are the source of the jobs. They know their business and what they need to succeed. They need skilled staff, and often there is no reason why those employees cannot be people with disability."

The Minister recognised the cycle of "low visibility" - that if employers do not hire people with disability, people with disability remain out of sight and therefore out of mind - so employers continue to overlook the fact that they could hire a person with disability for the job. 

Reforms to the Disability Employment will include improvements to the JobAccess  Gateway which will be launched in July 2016. This will support job seekers, employers and service providers to access free support througha central entry point into disability employment services. 

Also, some existing contracts for Disability Employment Services will be extended to 2018 and new contracts will begin in 2018. 


November 2015:

A message from Inclusion Australia: (DDWA is the Western Australian representative of IA)

We did it! 1000 people have signed the We Can Work with the Right Support petition.  A big thank you from Inclusion Australia for your support. We will now present the petition to the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter MP, as soon as possible.

There is, however, still much more to do. The Australian Government has released a second discussion paper proposing a new framework for disability employment services. You can get a copy of the paper from and details on how to participate in the consultations.

The new approach is based on principles of supporting individual need and choice; making best use of market based principles; and working more closely with employers to create jobs.

Inclusion Australia support the principles, however, the new framework does not offer solutions to support and develop evidence based transition-to-work or open employment for people with intellectual disability. Without the right support, people with intellectual disability and their families will not be able to make effective choices to get jobs.

If you want to have a say in the consultation, there is a public consultation starting 19 November and finishing 30 November. But you have to go to to register.

Thank you for support.

Paul Cain
On behalf of Inclusion Australia


Inclusion Australia's campaign website contains information about employment and people with intellectual disability including documents, news, videos, FAQ's and facts and figures.

11 November 2015:

The National Disability Employment Taskforce has a survey which opened today.

They recommend reading the Discussion Paper first : DISCUSSION PAPER (pdf), AUDIO  or WORD DOCUMENT.

You can find link to the Taskforce's survey here: SURVEY 


WORKING WITH FRAGILE X - watch the video

Fragile X Association has a video video to foster employment includion for people affected by Fragile X, or as they have said, for anyone differently abled.

The video is called Working with Fragile X and it profiles challenges faced by adults with Fragile X in securing open employment. Five young adults from Sydney share their views, discussing the challenges and putting the case that they have many capabilities. A key message is that skill support and access to employment opportunities are vital to them achieving their goal of finding work. 

You can watch the shorter 3 minute version here: Working with Fragile X 3 mins

or the longer 10 minute version here: Working with Fragile X 10 mins

Fragile X syndrome is the leading cause of inherited intellectual disability and the most common single gene cause of autism.  The Fragile X Association of Australia is a non-profit organisation that provides support for families living with Fragile X and works to increase the awareness of the condition.

Visit them on facebook:



9 November 2015: 


You may have noticed even more conversation recently about people with disability in employment. Many of our members have told us of their concern at portrayal of people with disability as “a burden”, particularly in recent media about Disability Support Pension (DSP).

The number of people receiving DSP is actually in decline.

In June 2015 814,391 people received DSP; 16,063 fewer people than June 2014 when there were 830,454 people receiving DSP.

But while this number is in decline so too is the number of DSP recipients in work.

The best way to respond to this is by supporting more people to get work. One group of people which is not support well to gain employment is people with intellectual disabilities, despite strong and consistent evidence about what works.

This is a really important time for people with disabilities and their families and carers to come together to say that people with intellectual disabilities want to work and can work with the right support.

In April 2015 the Government established a taskforce to review the entire disability employment system and develop a new National Disability Employment Framework to improve employment outcomes for people with disability.  The outcome of this review will be critical in influencing future decisions regarding employment support.

Part of the taskforce’s work is to commence the next round of consultations and information sessions next week in Perth on 19th November. It is regrettable that once again the Federal Government department has allowed only a very short notice of consultations, and we were not informed of these consultations by the Department until 9th November.

A Discussion Paper is also available, and an online survey opened on 11 November which will remain open until 7 December 2015. 

The Department is inviting further feedback and comments to



Inclusion Australia has put together a petition Employment Support for People with Intellectual Disability that Works


We know people with intellectual disability,


1. want to work,

2. can work when they get the right support, and

3. are hired by employers when this meets the mutual needs of the business and the individual.


Yet only 8% of people with intellectual disability are employed in the open workforce.

There are two major barriers that have to be addressed.


— The low expectations of people with intellectual disability to work in the open workforce.

— The lack of skilled transition-to-work and open employment support for this group across Australia.

An increase in employment outcomes will be achieved if individuals and families can choose support based on best practice for people with intellectual disability.

— A new employment support system should build on what is achieving good employment outcomes for people with intellectual disability.

— A market-based approach should provide individuals, families, and employers with genuine choice informed by published provider outcomes by disability.

— Any changes should not unintentionally harm services performing well in the current employment support system.

The expected ‘dovetailing’ of Disability Employment Services (DES) and the NDIS provides an historic opportunity to achieve substantial savings while delivering improved employment outcomes.

Best practice transition-to-work and open employment support can provide significant savings as alternative programs for people with intellectual disability (i.e. day programs & supported employment) are more expensive.

Inclusion Australia proposes the following key elements of a new pathway of employment support.

1. A presumption that people with intellectual disability have the capacity to work in the open workforce when provided with skilled support.

2. A national system of;

— transition-to-work support for people with intellectual disability based on what works as part of the NDIS, that works seamlessly with,

— open employment support based on what works as part of DES for NDIS clients with intellectual disability.

These elements if based on best practice can provide employment support from school to work for more youth with intellectual disability to choose work and successfully participate in the open workforce.


Sign the petition here: WE CAN WORK 


5 November 2015:

The Australian Human Rights Commission is conducting a National Inquiry into employment discrimation against older Australians and Australians with disability. 

The Inquiry, which commenced in April 2015 and will be completed by July 2016, will examine the barriers to employment for people with disability and older people. The Commission will make recommendations about practices, attitudes and Commonwealth laws that should be changed, and actions that should be taken in order to address employment discrimination.

Read more on the fact sheet here: (PDF) or (Word)


May 2015:

DDWA is the WA member of national peak body Inclusion Australia, formerly National Council on Intellectual Disability (NCID).

Inclusion Australia recently published its Submission from Inclusion Australia to the Review of Australia's Welfare System. (This is an updated version of the submission first submitted 15 August 2014).

"It is possible to progressively change the current low expectations, low work participation and high reliance on the pension, to a culture where inclusion, work and wages is a common part of the lives of all people with intellectual disability." (p3)

Read the submission here....

Click to watch the video looking at David and Audrey's pathway to open employment.


March 2015: 

We are pleased to confirm that the employment workshop series featuring presentations by Sue Robertson, are continuing in 2015.

Sue, former Director of Edge Employment (ret. 2014) and former Board Member of DDWA, received overwhelmingly positive feedback at the Leeming and Broome workshops held in December 2014,  a further three in early 2015, with more planned for later during 2015.


December 2014:

In  December 2014 DDWA's Preparing for Employment workshop with presenter Sue Robertson in Broome again received overwhelmingly positive feedback: 

"Just wanted to say thank you for sending Sue to Broome to deliver her fabulous workshop. It was very well received. Lots of useful practical examples and well-paced. Several of the attendees looked to be getting writers' cramp from taking so many notes - Sue shared lots of very useful tidbits of info based on her exeriences."

"I enjoyed the positive and creative way that Sue gave examples. I enjoyed the facts that clarified some of the gaps in my knowledge base."


November 2014:

DDWA kicked off a new series of workshops, Preparing for Employment, with presenter Sue Robertson who had earlier that year retired from Edge Employment Solutions, an employment agency for job seekers with disabilities, which has secured 6000 award wage jobs for 2500 workers with disabilities since 1984. 

Extremely positive feedback told us the first workshop had been a great success:

"Excellent presentation, friendly & professional presenter. Realistic information delivered."

"I gained a better understanding of the 'systems' and how to be better prepared for 'transition from school to work'."

"Helpful information on how parents can support their child in getting employment. Well presented and a lot of useful information."

Click here to find out more about the upcoming workshops in Mandurah (18 February 2015), Padbury (6 March) and Busselton( 23 March).



March 2014:

Employment for All survey - making decisions about employment The National Council on Intellectual Disability (NCID) is conducting a survey of people with intellectual disability and their family members about how they make decisions about employment and employment services. Developmental Disability WA is the Western Australian member of NCID.

We know that many people with intellectual disabilities who want to be in paid work are not.  We know that paid employment brings important economic and social benefits into the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. 

We also know that when making decisions about whether to pursue paid employment, and how, people with intellectual disabilities and their families weigh up lots of different things.  We also know that there are some really important times in a person’s life to talk about employment and that the information and encouragement of others can have an impact on the decisions individuals and families make. 

When kids with intellectual disabilities are preparing for life after school, for example, is a really important time for talking about work.  Find the survey and read more here:


February 2014: 

Developmental Disability WA was proud be part of organising the celebrations recognising Sarah Wardle as a Count Me In Ambassador.

Sarah is a youth Ambassador who has a passion to advocate for people with disability to work in open employment.  Sarah has Down syndrome and is studying music and computing at Challenger TAFE.  

She is a keen fundraiser and is currently volunteering at Manna Assist in Victoria Park, a charity organisation, where she helps to feed, deliver meals, find clothing and provide general support to people living in disadvantaged situations.  

Sarah also recently travelled to Bali where she raised funds for children with disability who lived in an orphanage.

The Count Me In Ambassador program, launched in December 2010 by the Disability Services Minister, was developed as a major strategy to disseminate key messages about the inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of our community. 

At the heart of Count Me In lies the vision of a Western Australia where all people live in welcoming communities which actively promote citizenship, friendship, mutual support and a fair go for everyone.

Sarah’s Ambassadorial message focuses on employment opportunities for people with intellectual disability.

A job is one of the most significant roles in most people’s lives and provides economic security, self-esteem, friends and ongoing learning and development. Since leaving school, Sarah’s goal has been to work at the Fiona Stanley Hospital when it opens its doors in October 2014.

Sarah knows from experience just how hard it is for people with an intellectual disability to get a job.  In her role as Ambassador, she aims to promote the skills, talents and commitment that people with disability can bring to the job.