Disability Types

CLA supports a range of disbility types including: Autism, Intellectual disability, Mental Health, Acquired Brain Injuries, Complex Needs, Physical Disability, Diabetes, Chanllenging behaviours and positive support:


Some of the people we support at CLA also have diabetes or are pre-diabetic. Our staff who work in this area are trained by an accredited diabetes educator, to assist the people we support who live with diabetes to best manage their condition, with minimal impact on their daily lives.

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Intellectual Disability

Intellectual Disability is defined as a disability that occurs in the developmental period (under 18), where IQ is assessed as under 70 and where deficits are evident in two or more adaptive behaviours that affect every day, general living.

It is a neuro-developmental disorder characterised by significantly impaired intellectual (reasoning, learning and problem solving) and adaptive functioning which covers everyday social and practical skills.

In practice a person living with this disability may process information more slowly and have difficulty communicating with others, managing their daily lives and struggle to manage effectively and independently in their local community.

There are many causes of intellectual disability. It may be associated with a genetic condition such as Down Syndrome, or Fragile X Syndrome or a neurological condition such as Autism.

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Mental Health and Intellectual Disability

While people with an intellectual disability are often more likely to also have an associated mental illness, (often termed a dual diagnosis) the two should not be confused. An intellectual disability is a developmental disorder and a mental illness is a mind related disorder that affects how a person feels, thinks and behaves.

There are a number of reasons why people with an intellectual disability are more likely to also experience a mental illness.

The person may:

  • Be isolated in their community
  • Have low self-esteem or less control over their lives
  • Not feel safe and are more likely to be bullied or to experience abuse and neglect
  • Have trouble managing stress and solving daily living problems

It has also been noted that the diagnosis of an associated mental illness is often overlooked, as a person with an intellectual disability may struggle to articulate their feelings. The signs and symptoms of mental illness also may be mixed up with the behaviours associated with their disability, or masked by non-related medications.

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Physical Disability

While some physical disabilities are associated with certain conditions like cerebral palsy or spinal injury, many are caused by accidents, injuries, age or illness.

As a person with a physical disability you may require a number of supports from various health professionals during a typical day. On the other hand, you may already be independent and just need some assistance with domestic tasks or getting out in the community.

Whatever your needs, CLA can support you to live an independent life. We enjoy good relationships with other health care professionals in the region so that we can support your rehabilitation plan.

Whether you require support for a few hours a week or 24/7, our experienced teams of Coordinators and Support Workers are ready to assist.

Multiple and Complex Needs

A person with Multiple and Complex Needs may have a number of disabilities and issues in their lives requiring a high level of support and coordination. As a complex needs capable organisation, CLA can assemble well-qualified teams who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to offer support tailored to the person.


Autism is a lifelong neuro-developmental condition that is characterised by differences in behaviour, social interaction, communication, special interests and sensory processing. It affects, among other things, the way an individual relates to his or her environment and their interaction with other people.

The Autistic spectrum describes the range of difficulties that people with autism may experience and the degree to which they may be affected. Some people may be able to live relatively normal lives, while others may have an accompanying learning challenges and intellectual impairment and may require continued specialist support.

Our Customer Stories

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Acquired Brain Injury

An acquired brain injury, sometimes called an ABI is defined as any damage to the brain that occurs after birth. A person may acquire a brain injury from an accident, drug or alcohol abuse, a stroke, a brain infection such as meningitis, or degenerative neurological disease such as Parkinson’s.

An ABI can lead to difficulties with physical, emotional, cognitive or independent functioning and may result in poor impulse control and disinhibited behaviour.

Brain injuries affect people in so many different ways and often the best way to understand this is to

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Read Stories About Brain Injury Acquired Brain Injury Case Study – Tom* Brain Injury Australia 2016 Amity Health

Challenging Behaviours and Positive Support 

Some of the people we work with a CLA may engage in behaviours that can be seen as confronting and challenging to manage. There is a temptation to concentrate on the behaviour at hand, but this can often lead to a reactive response, to minimise the behaviour occurring, when we should be looking more widely at the reasons the person needs to engage in the behaviour in the first place.

If we can uncover what is driving the behaviour and understand what the person is trying to tell us (remember all behaviours are communicating a message), we can work towards better meeting the person’s needs.

The goal here is to work towards increasing a person’s quality of life, so they feel better supported and no longer have a need to engage in challenging behaviours, to indicate their displeasure with their current environment.

This may include many things, including assisting the person to understand their daily lives better through clearer communication, changing the environment to better meet people’s needs, improving a person’s lifestyle and supporting them to engage in productive and positive relationships with others.

This is Positive Support in action…….

This is best achieved through adopting a person-centred approach to individual planning, which helps identify the needs and goals of the person and supports inclusion and meaningful participation in their community. People need choice and the opportunity to positively engage with others, to develop personal competencies and to be respected by others, as they engage in their daily lives.

For some people this support may require positive behaviour support planning. In addition to Individual plans, CLA may compile a Positive Response Action Plan (PRAP), to define a targeted response to a particular situation.

We may also develop a Positive Behaviour Support Plan that will look more widely at the social, emotional, cognitive and/or environmental factors influencing any more challenging behaviours, with the aim of understanding of why a person may engage in a particular behaviour and to identify what support is required to address the person’s unmet needs.

Remember: Behaviour is just the tip of the iceberg, to change it we have to look at what lies underneath…………….

Image of Challenging Behaviours and Positive Support Iceberg

Challenging Behaviours and Positive Support Iceberg

Further Information

Our friendly, well qualified staff are always happy to answer your questions.

Phone: 08 9842 3855

Email: admin@mycla.org.au