Community Supports - Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children

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Community Supports

RIDBC is committed to providing the best possible support for you and your family. Often this means connecting our clients with complementary community supports outside of RIDBC. We’ve compiled a list of some of these services below.

Ethan learning sign language at Roberta Reid

  • Disability Advocacy Finder – a comprehensive online resource to search for advocacy agencies by postcode.
  • Australian Federation of Disability Organisations is a cross-disability representative organisation, and the national voice representing people with disability in Australia whose members are national and state disability advocacy organisations.  AFDO does not take on advocacy issues for individuals with a disability but does have a comprehensive list of individual advocacy organisations.
  • Disability Advocacy Network Australia – DANA is the national representative body for a network of advocacy organisations throughout Australia.
  • PWDA (People With Disability Australia) – a national disability rights, advocacy and representative organisation that is made up of, led and governed by people with disability.

  • My Aged Care – find and access the right government-funded aged care services.
  • Older Persons Advocacy Network – advocacy, information and education services to older people in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote Australia.

  • Settlement Services International – a community organisation and social business that supports newcomers and other Australians to achieve their full potential. They work with all people who have experienced vulnerability, including refugees, people seeking asylum and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, to build capacity and enable them to overcome inequality.
  • Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association – advocates for the rights of people with disability from CALD backgrounds, their families and carers for better outcomes and improved access to services, opportunities and participation in the disability sector.
  • Australian Multicultural Foundation – initiates programs and projects that raise awareness of Australia’s cultural diversity, to advance its social and economic wellbeing.
  • Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Australia – national peak body representing and advocating for culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Online resources include a community perspective on pressing issues affecting new and emerging communities in Australia.
  • Australian Red Cross – provides information about advocacy, relief and support services for vulnerable people in need.
  • Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) – 131 450. Immediate phone interpreting, ATIS automated voice-prompted immediate phone interpreting, pre-booked phone interpreting and on-site interpreting. The majority of TIS National services are free to non-English speakers. Generally the organisation you are contacting will accept the charges for the service. Includes Medicare, NDIS and medical practitioners, pharmacies, emergency services, real estate agencies and local governments.

  • Carer Gateway  – an Australian Government initiative to support carers. Includes a free phone counselling service on 1800 422 737, available 8 – 5 Mon – Friday.
  • Carers Australia – the national peak body representing Australia’s unpaid carers, advocating on their behalf to influence policies and services at a national level.
  • Companion Card – QLD   NSW   ACT   NT  SA  TAS   VIC   WA  – eligible people with lifelong disability can participate at venues and activities without incurring the cost of a second ticket for their companion. The cardholder presents their card at participating affiliate organisations to purchase a ticket or pay an entry fee and receives a ticket for their companion at no extra charge.

  • My Community Directory – search for local community supports by postcode.
  • To find local council supports google Community Information Directory for your Local Government Area.
  • Peer Connect – practical information about peer networks in Australia with a focus on the disability community.
  • Accessible Arts NSW – enables artists, arts workers and audiences with disability to have full, inclusive access to the diverse arts sector.
  • Arts Access Victoria – dedicated to an ambitious agenda of social and artistic transformation for people with disability, the communities in which they live and the arts sector in which they aspire to participate without barriers.

  • Relationships Australia – provides a free, independent counselling service, funded by the Australian Government, for anyone affected by the Disability Royal Commission. They also offer counselling, family dispute resolution (mediation) and a range of family and community support and education programs.
  • Lifeline – a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
  • Kids Helpline – Australia’s only free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 – 25.
  • MensLine – a telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns. Phone 1300 78 99 78. Also offers online chat or skype counselling.
  • Family Relationship Advice Line – 1800 050 321 is a national telephone service that helps families affected by relationship or separation issues, including information on parenting arrangements after separation. It can also refer callers to local services that provide assistance.
  • 1800 Respect – 24 hours support for people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse.

  • Disability Gateway has information and services to help people with disability, their family, friends and carers, to find the support they need in Australia.
  • Disability Information Helpline is now available for people with disability who need help because of COVID-19. The Helpline can help families, carers, support workers and services, too. Contact the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787. The helpline is available Mon – Fri 8 am to 8 pm (AEST) and Weekends 9am to 7 pm.

Search for ECEI partner by postcode – partners delivering ECEI provide early childhood intervention support to children under seven years of age who have a developmental delay or disability. Early childhood partners help children and their families access supports and services that are tailored to the child’s needs. They also help with connection to other services such as community health services, playgroups or other activities available in the local area.

  • National Debt Hotline – a not-for-profit service that helps people in Australia tackle their debt problems. Professional financial counsellors offer a free, independent and confidential service. Call 1800 007 007.
  • Mission Australia – financial counselling and advocacy to help people maximise their income and minimise outgoings.
  • Salvation Army – if you find yourself in a sudden crisis, call the Salvos. They’ll listen and support you with immediate basic needs.
  • St Vincent de Paul – Vinnies provides a range of financial support services on a one-on-one basis for people seeking assistance.
  • Anglicare – if you’re finding it difficult to pay for household bills or need someone to talk to about your financial situation, Anglicare can provide immediate practical assistance.
  • Department of Human Services – can help if you’re in severe financial hardship, recovering from a disaster, or need special assistance.

  • National Relay Service –  a government initiative that allows people who are deaf, hard of hearing and/or have a speech impairment to make and receive phone calls.
  • Deafness Foundation – to improve well-being and promote equality for people who are deaf and hard of hearing by focusing on access, awareness, diagnosis, treatment and prevention
  • Deaf Australia – the deaf-led peak organisation representing deaf people in Australia. Promotes the advancement of human rights and equality for deaf people by collaborating with members and stakeholders in implementing the United Nations Conventions and the National Disability Strategy. For all deaf, hard of hearing and non-deaf people and organisations (not-for-profit, for profit or government) that use and/or accept and respect Auslan (Australian Sign Language).
  • Parents of Deaf Children – empowers parents to support their deaf/hearing-impaired children in reaching their full potential through information, support networks and representation.
  • Deaf Society  Offers a Parent to Parent support program which partners with Parents of Deaf Children to pair new parents with more experienced parents of deaf children.  The three-month mentoring program is an opportunity to share experiences, seek advice and discuss your child’s future prospects.
  • Hear For You – a one-of-a-kind organisation devoted to supporting teenagers who are deaf and hard of hearing. Through programs and events, deaf teenagers have the chance to connect with mentors who have ‘been there, done that’, and have lived to tell the tale!
  • Hearing Matters Australia – a voluntary, non-profit educational organisation, dedicated to helping Australians with a hearing loss whose primary method of communication is through speech.
  • Deaf Sports Australia – the peak body for deaf sports in Australia. DSA assists Australians who are deaf and hard of hearing to participate in sport at all levels and compete at designated national and international events including Australian Deaf Games, Asia Pacific Deaf Games, and the Deaflympic Games through partnerships with governments, businesses, sporting bodies and the community.
  • Safe Deaf Kids – Safe is a safety and awareness group work programme aimed at deaf children aged seven and over. This resource supports the personal safety skills training of deaf children.
  • Deaf Youth Australia – working group for Deaf Youth Australia, working under Deaf Australia.
  • Auslan Signbank – a language resources site for Auslan (Australian Sign Language).
  • Hearing Australia – the nation’s largest provider of government-funded hearing services for children, young adults up to the age of 26, eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pensioners and veterans.
  • Deaf Victoria – a non-profit organisation led and managed by deaf and hard of hearing people through the provision of advocacy and information services to strengthen community participation and quality of life for deaf and hard of hearing Victorians.

First Peoples Disability Network – a national organisation of and for Australia’s First Peoples with disability, their families and communities.

Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association of Australia – provides support, advice and advocacy for parents in isolated communities. A voluntary national parent body dedicated to ensuring that all geographically isolated students have equality with their non-isolated peers, and access to an appropriate education.

Search for LAC by postcode – Local Area Coordination (LAC) partners are organisations with local knowledge of disability services and their community, for people aged seven years and over. LACs link participants with the NDIS and to community and mainstream supports in their area. LACs can help participants understand and access the NDIS, create, implement and review their plan. Clients can ask their LAC about the supports available in their community, even if they’re not eligible for an NDIS support plan. Partners delivering LAC services also help make the community more welcoming and inclusive.

Legal Aid – ACT   NSW  NT  QLD  SA  TAS  VIC  WA  – in each state and territory, Legal Aid commissions deliver a wide range of legal assistance services in criminal, family and civil law matters. Some legal assistance is available free-of-charge to everyone, including through free brochures, information sessions or telephone legal advice.

  • NDIS – The National Disability Insurance Agency.
  • NDIS Provider Finder – find providers of NDIS Supports.
  • Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) – AFDO developed ‘Disability Loop’ to be the ‘go to’ place for NDIS news, information, resources and events.
  • Every Australian Counts – the grassroots campaign that fought for the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and won. EAC is made up of hundreds of thousands of people with disability, families, carers, and those who work to support them who have come together to fight for a fair go for people with disability in Australia.
  • Legal Aid – can assist appealing a decision at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) level. Please be advised that families need to have gone through the NDIS review process directly with the NDIA first before they can apply for a review with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) where a court will decide if the NDIA and the client cannot come to a resolution.

  • Taxi Subsidy Scheme – NSW   QLD    VIC   ACT   WA   NT   TAS   SA
  • NDIS Transport Funding – a participant will generally be able to access funding through the NDIS for transport assistance if the participant cannot use public transport without substantial difficulty due to their disability. Funding takes into account any relevant taxi subsidy scheme, and it does not cover transport assistance for carers to transport their family member with a disability for everyday commitments.
  • Vision Impaired Personal Travel Permit – NSW

  • Blind Citizens Australia – provides a united voice for Australians who are blind or vision impaired
  • Vision Impairment Family Network – provides links to Australian low vision resources, newsletters from partner organisations and events that families might like to find out about. The VI Family Network is also home to the Australian Childhood Vision Impairment Register.
  • Family Connect – an online, multimedia community created to give parents of visually impaired children a place to support each other, share stories and concerns, and link to local resources.
  • Blind Sports Australia – a national not-for-profit organisation whose members are blind sporting organisations.
  • Australian Braille Authority – oversees the development and maintenance of braille codes and specifications used in Australia, acts as a braille accreditation body, and promotes braille as the primary literacy medium for people who are blind, deafblind, or have severe vision impairment.
  • Vision Technology Library VIC – a collection of specialised equipment and technology that government schools can borrow to support their students who are blind or have low vision.