People with disability have the right to express themselves, including the freedom to give and receive information and ideas through all forms of communication, including through accessible formats and technologies, sign languages, Braille, augmentative and alternative communication, mass media and all other accessible means of communication (Article 21)


We all have a need to connect and communicate with others. People with developmental disability may have difficulty making themselves understood and understanding other people but everyone can communicate and everyone can learn to communicate in ways that are more easily understood if they get the right support. It is not only people with developmental disability who need support to do this – their family members, carers, friends and the professionals who work with them all need to have good information, training and support to learn the best ways to communicate together. Without the right support, unmet communication support needs will affect every area of a person’s life from getting a good education, to appropriate health care, employment, positive relationships, social support and personal safety.

DDWA believe that communication is a fundamental human right and is working to improve information and advice for people with developmental disability who have complex communication needs as well as for their families and supporters.

DDWA Services

Support Coordination - DDWA can assist you to engage with services that will support you to communicate.

Advocacy - DDWA can advocate for your rights to communicate.

Adult man with down syndrome and a caregiver


Other Resources

Communication Chart

An essential person-centred practice tool to use when people don’t communicate with words from Helen Sanderson Associates.

Communication before speech

A post from Uncommon Sense Blog

What is AAC?

A 7-minute read from AssistiveWare

Project Core: Quick Start Guide

Is your child not yet using speech, sign language or symbols to communicate with you and others? Is your child learning a communication system at school that is not available for use at home? If you answered yes to either of these questions, Project Core can help!

Communication: The Sky’s the Limit

Video recording of Jane Farrall’s plenary session presentation at the Angelman UK Communication and Literacy Conference 2019.
Support decision-making when you cannot speak
A 7-minute read from AssistiveWare
3 Strategies to Support Choice and Control
All people who struggle with communication can be supported to make their own decisions. There are many tools and strategies that can help with this (an 8 minute read from AssistiveWare).

Reducing vulnerability for non-speaking people

A 5-minute read from AssistiveWare

Planning for AAC in Medical Settings

People who cannot rely on speech are more vulnerable. Lack of access to their Augmentative and Alternative Communication system (AAC) is common in health and medical settings, where poor communication support can have tragic but avoidable results. Learn how to safeguard communication for AAC users in these settings

4 Things Every AAC System Needs

An 8-minute read from AssistiveWare.

Why Literacy Matters for People with Significant Disability: Talking with Tech

A conversation between Erin Sheldon and Karen Erickson in two parts, shared as episodes 148 and 149 on the Talking with Tech podcast. If you are time poor, we recommend you start listening to the conversation between Erin Sheldon and Karen Erickson when it begins:


Complex Communication Support for Individuals & Families

Young boy wearing headphones

DDWA is working to improve information and advice for people with developmental disability who have complex communication needs, and for their families and supporters.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with accessing or using resources, please call us on 9420 7203 or email

You will find links download links to PDFs, Tar Heel Reader and The Pictello app.