Side by Side Peer Support


What is Side by Side?

DDWA initially began Side by Side as a project in 2012, for families experiencing behaviour which could be seen as challenging. The project connects families experiencing challenging behaviour with other families though a supported peer group which provides a safe place to share experiences, receive support and help each other.  In December 2019, DDWA was approved for an ILC (Information, Linkages and Capacity) grant to develop the Side by Side program.

DDWA now have two Side by Side managers, Bronwyn Pike and Maggie Visser who are working to develop and grow the reach of the program.  Maggie and Bron are passionate about Side by Side and have been connected with the program since it began.

Side by Side’s vision and aim is for families experiencing challenging behaviour to be better supported, and to develop family leaders.  This peer support is vital as these families are often isolated and overwhelmed.  Side by Side can work with families and support them to develop their own capacity and build the strength of the Side by Side peer group collectively.  

There is a thriving and engaged community of families on our Side by Side Face Book page where families can join to ask questions, share information and provide peer support.  The DDWA Side by Side team are actively engaged with the Facebook community and post content regularly.  This year, in addition, there will be various topics presented to help families to build their own capacity such as:
· Understanding behaviour
· Having a Vision
· Standing Up for someone you love
· Inclusion

Due to COVID19 and social distancing rules DDWA are hosting virtual catch ups (via Zoom) for families that are part of Side by Side to stay connected. In these sessions people ask questions that are relevant to them and their loved ones. There are many topics that arise and these range from NDIS queries to positive behaviour support.

DDWA are a registered NDIS provider and offer training under parent/ carer training and Improved Relationships. DDWA is also a registered NDIS support coordination provider.

However from 1 July 2020 DDWA will no longer be registered with the NDIS to provide support funded in Improved Relationships.

DDWA continues to be connected to behaviour practitioners and coach and mentor families through the Side by Side program.

If you have any queries relating to Side by Side please do not hesitate to contact

Bronwyn Pike or

Maggie Visser

or call the DDWA office on 9420 7203.

How will I know if Side by Side is for my family?
Do you:
· have a son or daughter with behaviour which can be described as challenging?
· or your family members ever feel isolated, alone, afraid, saddened, stressed by the behaviour of your son or daughter?
· ever feel that if you could better understand or communicate with your son or daughter things would be better?
· ever have a need to share your experiences with others who have been down the same road?
· think you would benefit from learning new strategies or finding out what other people in a similar situation have done?
· wish you had support to work through the services and systems you are connected with or need to connect with?

* Challenging ‘…behaviour of such an intensity, frequency or duration that the physical safety of the person or others is likely to be placed in serious jeopardy, or behaviour which is likely to seriously limit use of, or result in the person being denied access to, ordinary community facilities’. Emerson, E. (1995) Challenging Behaviour. Analysis and Intervention in People with Learning Difficulties, Cambridge University Press.

Did you answer yes to one or more of the questions above?
You may like to submit an Expression of Interest with us:


Have you and your family experienced any of the above and now feel that you would like to support another family?
Please contact us to find out more.

News and Resources to Share


If you would like to find out more about support, or providing support as a Family Partner, contact:
Maggie Visser or Bron Pike
Side by Side Program
Developmental Disability WA
 2 Delhi Street, West Perth WA 6005
h: 9420 7203 or Email:


What families say about Side by Side:

“There was a good chance I would have had to quit work to support my wife, with the behavioural issues with our child.

With the strategies we learnt I am still the breadwinner whilst being confident my family are safe at home.” 

“Being a part of this program has made an incredible difference to our family.  I was feeling isolated and felt overwhelmed most days. I have four children, one has severe Autism. His behaviour affects our family life, especially his siblings.”

I was feeling desperate and that’s when I decided to contact the Family Mentoring Project (now Side by Side) co-ordinator and make some changes, all for the better. My mentor gave me insight and hope. It changed my view on our family life. We are able to share information and emotions without prejudice. I have gained knowledge, confidence and very importantly friendship. It really is a fantastic and inspiring project that I would recommend to other families. 

…it’s great to support and be supported at the same time.