Disability resources

What is disability? 

There are at two official definitions of disability; the contemporary social definition provided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the national legal definition provided by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). 

Both definitions aim to protect against discrimination and help all people to understand their rights and responsibilities. 

Australia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that defines disability as: 

“Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments, which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”

The Disability Discrimination Act that protects Australians against discrimination based on disability provides a broad definition of disability including these eight types: 

  • Physical disability: Impacts mobility or dexterity 
  • Intellectual disability: Impacts ability to learn or process information 
  • Mental illness: Impacts thinking processes 
  • Sensory disability: Impacts the ability to hear or see 
  • Neurological disability: Impacts the brain and central nervous system 
  • Learning disability: Impacts acquisition, organisation, retention, and understanding of information 
  • Physical disfigurement: Impacts physical appearance 
  • Immunological disability: Impact due to the presence of organisms causing disease in the body 

Language guide

This language guide from People With Disability Australia seeks to influence the social narrative around respectful and inclusive language about people with disability and to improve the lives of people with disability. It unpacks key factors which influence disability-related language, and identifies commonly misused terms and recommends suitable alternatives. 

Download the language guide.

Auslan videos

We also have a full suite of Auslan videos available for viewing. 

Watch Webinar: The experience of child sexual abuse for and with people with disability

Webinar: The experience of child sexual abuse for and with people with disability

In this webinar, National Centre CEO Dr Leanne Beagley alongside a panel of experts, explore the experience of child sexual abuse for and with people with disability including structural inequalities, systemic barriers and the importance of disability centered approaches to healing and recovery.

Easy Read documents 

A different approach to communicating information is useful for many people with intellectual disability, literacy issues or who use English as a second language. Easy Read’s unique layout and style presents information so it’s easy to understand and can explain a range of issues in suitable ways for all to comprehend.  

Here is a list of some Easy Read resources provided by People With Disability Australia: 

  • Everyone is different: Download PDF 
  • Our dreams: Download PDF 
  • Getting help with my NDIS plan: Download PDF | Download Word document 
  • The National Redress Scheme – Information for you: Download PDF This document was written by Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) but it contains highly relevant information regarding the National Redress Scheme. 

Disability support services

Disability Advocacy NSW (DA)
Phone: 1300 365 085
Website: https://www.da.org.au

Illawarra Advocacy
Phone: (02) 4229 4999
Website: https://illawarraadvocacy.org.au/

Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS)
Phone: (02) 9265 6350
Phone: 1300 665 908
Website: https://idrs.org.au

MatchWorks (Disability Employment Services)
Phone: 1300 13 23 63
Website: https://www.matchworks.com.au

Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association of NSW (MDAA)
Phone: 02 9891 6400
Phone: 1800 629 072
Website: https://mdaa.org.au

Newell Advocacy
Phone: 02 6792 3195
Website: https://newelladvocacy.com.au

People With Disability Australia
Phone: 1800 422 015
Website: https://pwd.org.au/

Regional Disability Advocacy Service (RDAS)
Phone: 1800 250 292
Website: https://rdas.org.au

Self Advocacy Sydney (SAS)
Phone: 02 9622 3005
Website: www.sasinc.com.au

Side By Side Advocacy
Phone: 02 9808 5500
Website: www.sidebysideadvocacy.org.au

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA)
Phone: 1800 819 775
Website: https://scia.org.au

Sydney Region Aboriginal Corporation
Phone: 02 4722 3524
Website: https://www.srac.ngo

Phone: 1800 673 074
Website: https://synapse.org.au