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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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New South Wales Council for Intellectual Disability (NSW CID) has put together a range of fact sheets on health.

Click on the topics below to look at the easy English fact sheets 


Click to enlargeMe and my Doctor     | Me and my Doctor checklist










Click to enlargeMental HealthMental Health  | Mental Health checklist










Click to enlargeAfter visiting the Doctor     |  After visiting the Doctor checklist










Click to enlargeGoing to hospital for surgery     |      Going to Hospital for surgery checklist










Me and my medication     |     Me and my medication checklist









Finding a new Doctor     |     Finding a new Doctor checklist









Some signs of sickness     |     Some signs of sickness checklist











June 2016:

New modules about intellectual disability and mental health are now available on the e-learning site

The modules are peer-reviewed, and aim to equip health professionals to deliver optimal services to people with an intellectual disability and a mental health issues.

The new modules are two modules about legal and ethical practice, and three modules about challenging behaviour:

Module 9: Equality in mental health care – a guide for clinicians

Module 10: Consent, decision-making and privacy – a guide for clinicians

Module 11: Challenging behaviour – Introduction

Module 12: Challenging behaviour – Assessment

Module 13: Challenging behaviour – Management

These modules build on the existing eight, which span topics from intellectual disability through to assessment and management of mental disorders in people with an intellectual disability.

Registration is free, and the modules are available here now

8 August 2015:

Conversations about Dying

Dying to Know Day is an annual day of action dedicated to bringing to live conversations and community actions around death, dying and bereavement. 

NSW Council for Intellectual Disability (NSW CID) has created this information sheet:  Intellectual Disability & Health - Managing Grief Better: People with Intellectual Disabilities

December 2014:

Some people with intellectual disability have very high rates of mental disorders but poor access to mental health care. When there is access to care, the care is often not appropriate. Many    mental health professionals do not have the necessary training and do not have access to specialists in  intellectual disability and mental health, so diagnosis is often very challenging.

There are many times when mental health and disability professionals need to collaborate closely to work out  appropriate responses to challenging behaviour of a person with intellectual disability.

Click on the image to read the WA Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015-2025

In Western Australia:

In December 2014 the Western Australian Mental Health Commission launched its Mental Health, Alcohol, Drugs and Other Services Plan 2015-2025.

One of the actions in that plan is to develop a range of specialised state-wide services to ‘offer an additional level of expertise or service response for people with particular clinical conditions or complex and high level needs.’   The plan suggests these services might include ‘targeted interventions, shared care, comprehensive care for extended periods, and support to general services.’

The Plan identifies a priority to, by 2017:

“Establish a specialised service to meet the needs of people with co-occurring mental illness and intellectual and developmental disability, including autism spectrum.

Children with intellectual disability have three to four times higher rates of mental illness compared to other children.52 Some mental illnesses may present in a different way than in people without intellectual disability. The optimal mix includes a state-wide intellectual and developmental disability service, to support and treat individuals with co-occurring mental illness. The service would also support mainstream services to respond effectively.” (Mental Health, Alcohol, Drugs and Other Services Plan 2015-2025 pp 64,65)

This is a welcome development and DDWA looks forward to working with the Mental Health Commission and others involved to help shape the development and implementation of this initiative.


In 2013 a Roundtable was funded and supported by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, bringing together 95 leaders in mental health, disability and related spheres from around Australia. This included the senior mental health public servants and/or chief psychiatrists from the Commonwealth, States and Territories.

Roundtable participants supported eight key elements of an effective system of mental health care for people with intellectual disability. These cover:

1.      Inclusion of intellectual disability mental health in all mental health initiatives.

2.      Prevention and timely intervention.

3.      Equitable access to, and skilled treatment by, mental health services.

4.      Specialist intellectual disability mental health services to support mainstream services.

5.      Collaboration between disability, schools, mental health and other agencies.

6.      Workforce education and training.

7.      Enhanced data collection.

8.      Addressing contributors to multiple disadvantage.

Audit on Action

In November 2014 the report was released on the audit of the Roundtable participant's actions on the eight key elements in the 12 months following the Roundtable.  The audit has reported that in all the mainland States, there has been some systematic consideration of reforms that  can be made. In WA, DDWA has been part of the steering group working on organisational and workforce capability needs in relation to people with intellectual disability and mental illness. 

You can read the Audit Report on Action—”Some Steps Up the Mountain”, co-ordintated by NSW Council on Intellectual Disability, here: "Some Steps Up the Mountain". Click on image to read the report


November 2014: 

10th and 12 November

We were pleased to have Professor Mike Kerr present on intellectual disability in relation to  mental health and epilepsy.  Professor Kerr has kindly made available a resource which is a brief summary of his presentation - Mental Health and intellectual and developmental disability: holistic, client-centred mental health care.  Click to open and read the document



March 2014:

A series of workshops with Curtin University commenced on 25 March 2014 with Dr George Jesien who recently served as the executive director of the Association of University Centres on Disabilities (AUCD) in the USA. 


25 March 2014:

Health Advocacy: A Forum for Parents and Families Seeking Better Health Outcomes for People with Developmental Disabilities.    (click flyer to enlarge)

This forum asked:

"Are you concerned what happens to your family member with a disability when they go to hospital or a health service?"

"Are you wanting to know how you can support them to ensure they secure better health outcomes?"

It is well recognised that one of the most vulnerable groups of people who access health services are people with developmental disabilities including intellectual disabilities.  It is also well understood that families play a key advocacy role in supporting people with developmental disabilities in relation to their health.  But are we supporting families and people with developmental disabilities to be effective health advocates?

View Dr Jesien's presentation: Effective engagement of families and people with developmental disabilities in health advocacy.


26 March 2014:

 View the presentation: Collaboration and participation in research: a discussion of both cooperative and inclusive research approaches.


27 March 2014:

View the presentation: Interdisciplinary training of health professionals in disability: the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program.


28 March 2014:

View the presentation: The role of public health programs to address health disparities experienced by people with disabilities.


3 April 2014:

View the presentation: Improving services for people with disabilities: talking to key partners in National Disability Services.