Family, Friends and Allies

If your family, friends or others are wondering how they can support you in your NDIS journey or how to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ disability community, we have created this guide you can share.  

Whilst the intersection of disability and being LGBTQ+ can be difficult to navigate it can also be a place of strength. LGBTQ+ and disability communities have a long and proud history of advocating and fighting for our rights. We’ve also drawn on the support of our friends, families of origin, chosen families and allies.  

In this section: 

Supporting People Through the NDIS Application Process

You might be wondering how to support someone who is applying for or who uses the NDIS. The NDIS is the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The only program of its kind in the world, it provides funding to eligible people with disabilities to access the supports they need. 

The first step is to learn about the NDIS, how it works, about the application process and what the NDIS can fund. Reading ACON's Guide to the NDIS can assist you to understand how the NDIS works and to support someone on their NDIS journey.   

Although the NDIS has been life changing for many people, the application process can be long and stressful. There are lots of ways you can support your loved ones through this process like: 

  • Writing a support letter as part of the application 
  • Going with the person to see specialists and to other appointments, and take notes on what is discussed 
  • Research LGBTQ+ affirming providers for them 
  • Help takes things off their plate in other areas of their life- maybe you could prepare some meals for them so that’s one less thing to worry about 

Supporting someone through difficult times might be distressing or difficult for you as well. Remember to take the time you need to recharge and care for yourself as well.  

Supporting Individuals with Disability

To learn about ways you can support friends and/or family members with disability, it can help to understand the social model of disability. The social model of disability sees disability as a result of the barriers that cause people with impairments to be unable to fully participate in society. Disabled people don’t need to be fixed or cured – society needs to remove the barriers! Negotiating the barriers puts a mental burden on the daily lives of people with disability. To be an ally to your friends with disability, you can do the work in helping to remove the barriers and offer to do things like:  

  • Offer to be the one to call venues and check that they are accessible. If your friend uses a wheelchair, ask the venue about seating arrangements and toilets.  
  • Looking out for your friend. Are they experiencing burnout? Would they appreciate some time out at a busy event? Offer to go with them to a quiet area to decompress.  
  • Not everyone communicates by talking. Other ways of communicating include texting, writing, using sign language (Auslan), facial expressions and gestures. Some people use a number of different ways to communicate. It can help to be aware you might need to change your communication style when meeting with different people.  
  • If you’re not sure what ‘to do’ when it comes to offering help or inviting people to things when you know they might not be able to come – just ask! This can be as simple as something like ‘When you’re having a flare up, do you want me to still be sending you invites to things? I never want to exclude you, but I also don’t want to put you in a position where you feel even worse saying no- what do you want me to do?’  

Before doing anything on behalf of your disabled friends, remember to ask. People with disability are used to micro aggressions like someone talking over them, moving their wheelchair without asking, or leaving them out of social plans because they assume they don’t want to do it or wouldn’t want to or be able to attend.  

Disabled people have a slogan – nothing about us without us – don’t make decisions without asking people first or make assumptions. When unsure, it is always better to ask!  

Systemic Advocacy

Systemic advocacy means groups of people working together to advocate for social change. For the disability community, systemic advocacy means working together to remove the barriers that people with disability face in society. This could mean advocating for changes to make the NDIS easier to use, improved employment inclusion, improved access to public venues and transport,  

The work of disabled people and their allies at the community and grassroots level has resulted in many changes but there is still a lot of work to do. To support disabled people as an ally, you can get involved in this work. Even small actions can contribute to change. Here is a list of organisations involved in disability advocacy. 

Find out more about the NDIS Journey

Is the NDIS right for you? | Your NDIS application | Your NDIS application was successful – What next? | Your NDIS application was unsuccessful – What next? | Self care and other supports | Language used | Useful Links


Click here to view / download the NDIS Journey Map.

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