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8 February 2017

Tonight ABC TV's 7.30 Report will feature a story on health and the deadly cost of disability discrimination.

New research by the University of New South Wales shows that 38% of deaths of people with intellectual disability in NSW are preventable.

By supporting the petition by NSW Council for Intellectual Disability we are supporting their call for greater invesment in the health of people with intellectual disability so that we can end the terrible number of Australians with intellctual disability dying from preventable illnesses. 

You can sign the petition here: Petition

The research findings are an important wake-up call for us to consider in the WA context.

The Disability Health Network in WA is developing a communication tool for families to use when someone they love is going in to hospital.

DDWA is part of that work. 

If you would like to find out more contact us on 9420 7203 or email

Click to read media release


16 December 2016 - WA NDIS update

Following the 2 December announcement that WA would have a WA administered NDIS, the Disability Services Commission has provided additional information and answers some of the questions which have arisen about what the decision will mean for Western Australians.





Only 6 weeks to nominate for the 2017 Disability Support Awards.

Nomination support is available - attend a nomination masterclass workshop, or email NDS.


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






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Click to open and read the January 2017 news                



DDWA has a range of resources

- hard copy booklets

- links to publications you can download

- recorded presentations on different topics which are on our You Tube channel DDWA Inc

If you would like to order one of these booklets or resources to be sent to you please get in touch with us.


What is Side by Side?

Side by Side is the name of DDWA's program for famlies who have a family member with disability and who has behaviour which is at times challenging.

Side by Side was co-designed by families, for families and as a strengths based program it aims to build resilience, knowledge, friendship and support.



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

Your donation will contribute towards

  • more workshops and information sessions for individuals, their family members and the people who support them 
  • more resources being developed for families and professionals
  • 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 DDWA,  or would like to find out more about our work.




Congratulations Sue Birch on 25 years at DDWA!

Sue Birch (right) with CEO Taryn Harvey

It's not often these days that you hear about people who are working with the same organisation they started with 25 years ago.

Sue Birch, Finance and Office Manager, has just celebrated 25 years at Developmental Disability WA. She says she has seen so many changes in disability over the years but some things remain the same and there is still much work to be done.

Sue first came into contact with DDWA, then Developmental Disability Council, as a parent of a young girl who has Rett Syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental condition which affects girls almost exclusively.

“DDWA has been right at the centre of so many of the enormous changes in the disability sector in WA, in the 25 years I have been here,” Sue said.

“As a parent it’s important to me that there’s an organisation whose purpose is to work alongside families and others in the community, to influence decision makers, always with the goal of positive change.”

“When I was first at DDWA in the early 1990s, the State and Commonwealth were arguing back and forth about whose responsibility it was to support people with disability, and so DDWA led the way in the campaigns to get a resolution - with sit- ins, bus tours, marches with placards, marathon walks, trips to Canberra, letter and post card campaigns.”

“Today we advocate loudly and strongly but with the introduction of social media things are very different. We also take a very family centred approach, with the view that individuals and families absolutely have to be at the centre of any change that happens. If they are empowered, and confident, then they can be stronger in their pursuit for the changes that need to happen.”

2016 is the 21st anniversary of the Welcome Home Campaign which we launched in WA as a campaign to increase awareness of the crisis faced by many people who were looking for accommodation services but who couldn’t get them. The campaign had an immediate impact and the WA State Government increased funding for disability services as part of its five year plan but by 1998 many families were still in crisis and it was apparent the level of funding allocated was not sufficient to fully meet the need. A national campaign, Time to Care then evolved, with DDWA sponsoring this in WA.

Sue said one of the effective campaigning tools DDWA created was the Politician Adoption Scheme, in which Premiers, Ministers, backbenchers of all sides, from all parties were ‘adopted’ by families so the MP could find out more about the lived experience of disability for the individual and their family.

“Governments have taken responsibility for the legislative and administrative frameworks for the National Disability Insurance Scheme but it’s the families who introduced the idea, campaigned hard to get the idea heard, and who should be proud of what has been achieved so far,” Sue said.

“We are still waiting, decades on, for all people with disability across the country, regardless of which state they live in, to be given equal access to a quality support scheme.”

“Along with many people with disability and the people who love and support them I am hopeful that a scheme will be rolled out soon in WA, in whichever form it takes. I have no doubt DDWA and our members and supporters will be at the centre of the campaigns advocating for positive changes until they happen.”





The RediPlan was developed by the Red Cross.

It's a booklet which includes tips on how to be ready for the bushfire season and includes a section on supporting a person with a disability to be prepared for disasters generally.

Click on the cover to read the Rediplan.