Family Peer Support - Side By Side

DDWA began Side by Side as a project in 2012, for families experiencing behaviour which could be seen as challenging.

Side by Side

What is Side by Side?

Bron and Maggie present an overview of Side by Side in this video.  Images are from Side by Side events between 2012 - 2022.

About Side by Side

Side by Side connects families experiencing challenging behaviour with other families though a supported peer group.  Peer groups provide 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 has 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.

Our Vision

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

What families say about being part of 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.

How can I get involved?

Side by Side Facebook Group for families.

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

Join this private group if you are a family member of someone who behaves in challenging ways.

NEW Side by Side Community Group for families and professionals.

The Side by Side Community group is an online group for family members AND professionals/ supporters of people with challenging behaviours – practitioners, support staff, therapists, teachers, individuals, families, educators, service providers, support coordinators and others who would like to hear about, and share information about positive behaviour support and unmet needs.

Join this private group:

DDWA are a registered NDIS provider and offer training under parent/ carer training.

Events will be advertised through the Facebook group and on the website under events.

DDWA is also a registered NDIS support coordination provider.

To find out more about Support Coordination with DDWA:

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

Maggie Visser

or call the DDWA office on 9420 7203.

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

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 contact us for more information, or submit an Expression of Interest to join our community: