Communication Disability

Communication Disability

Communication disability and the NDIS

Some people with communication difficulties or disabilities are eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

To be eligible, a person must have a significant disability that impacts substantially on their ability to complete everyday activities. Read more about eligibility on the NDIS website.

Visit Understanding the NDIS to find the ‘Getting started’ gateway which steps people through the eligibility criteria and application process. NDIS also offers telephone, online and in-person support.

Many people, including NDIS staff, do not understand communication disability or its impacts. You need to explain it clearly in your application. Use the pages on this site to get lots of information and provide any useful fact sheets and links from Communication Hub with your application.

NDIS funding to have a good life

The NDIS helps people with communication disability to fund the supports they need to achieve their goals and to have a good life.

The application form for NDIS services will ask for evidence about the disability and information about the impacts on your whole life.

You can provide information and evidence about the following.

Your individual needs
  • Do I have significant difficulties speaking, writing, using sign language or body language to express myself?
  • Do I have significant difficulties understanding others?
  • Are communication difficulties a barrier to completing daily activities?
  • Do I need help to communicate with others in my life?
  • Is my communication limited compared to other people I know?
  • Does my communication limit my learning or my self-care?
  • Do I have other disabilities: vision, hearing, mobility?

Helpful pages

The impacts on your life
  • Is my communication impacting socialising and self-determination?
  • Is my communication impacting what I do, my learning, my social life, my wellbeing?
  • Do I have the level of autonomy I want?
  • Does communication stop me learning life skills?
  • Are there specific communication barriers to my independence?
  • Does my communication impact my moods, my mental health?
  • Does my communication mean I am more vulnerable to abuse or discrimination?

Helpful pages

What you need to have a good life
  • What goals would I like to focus on now?
  • What do I want to work toward longer term in education and work?
  • What training or support for my communication partners would support my goals?
  • What therapies and other services will help me the most now?
  • What equipment or technology would be helpful?
  • Do I need help to advocate for my rights?
  • What could help me work or study?
  • What else would help me enjoy life, build relationships and achieve my goals?

Helpful pages

Types of supports people might use funding for

NDIS funding can pay for programs and services (such as speech pathology) to support communication skills and purchasing a communication aid. It can also pay for services to reduce the impacts of a communication disability on life. For example, NDIS may pay for a support worker to advocate for you in meetings or help you set up a device.

People might use their NDIS funding for:

  • programs and services to support communication skills
  • modifications to workplaces and businesses to provide communication access
  • equipment or strategies to reduce the impacts of a communication disability on life
  • early intervention
  • building life skills
  • communication partner training
  • social supports and opportunities
  • technology or strategies that increase independence
  • changes to communicating settings (such as lighting or noise controls).


Speech pathologist, talks about the NDIS

‘So we’re seeing a greater focus on and greater funding available for community participation. That has impacts for the people who are NDIS participants ... but it also has significant benefits for the community as a whole.’

For carers and support people

Engagement with the NDIS depends on being able to communicate. A person with communication disability may face barriers in expressing their needs, opinions and preferences about various supports.

Some people with communication disability may require a support person from the National Disability Advocacy Program for the process of accessing the NDIS, during assessment, and for managing and reviewing their plan.

It is vital that individuals can use whatever communication method works for them during these processes. It is also vital that the individual can express their own views.

Access to communication is a human right. NDIS helps ensure access to communication for everyone.

Learn more

Understanding the NDIS provides the ‘Getting started’ gateway which steps people through the eligibility criteria and application process. NDIS also offers telephone, online and in-person support.