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Counselling People With Intellectual Disabilities: Resources and Research

WWILD’s Counselling Resources

WWILD has been providing counselling since 1994 to people with intellectual and learning disabilities. We publish and create resources on this subject and provide training on Counselling Skills when working with clients with Intellectual Disabilities (Queensland wide).

For Easy Read resources to use with your clients, please see our Easy Read Resources page.

For resources and research articles about counselling people with intellectual disabilities, scroll down the page.


How to Hear Me Resource Kit: a resource kit for counsellors and other professionals working with people with intellectual disabilities.

WWILD’s resource kit brings together the knowledge WWILD has gathered about the lived experience of people with intellectual disabilities affected by violence and abuse, and aims to educate on the impact of trauma, and adapting counselling approaches for this group.

The booklet discusses communication, social disadvantage, discrimination, vulnerability, and cognitive issues, several counselling approaches that are known to be effective, and how the counsellor’s practice can be adapted to meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities.

The kit includes a DVD of demonstrations of the techniques. How to Hear Me was published with the support of the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General Building Capacity for Victims of Crime Services Funding Program.

Reference: WWILD-SVP Association Inc. (2011) The ‘How to Hear Me: A resource kit for counsellors and other professionals working with people with intellectual disabilities’, Brisbane, QLD.

Purchase hard copy Click on link or go to the Shop page. 

Watch video: Link to: Demonstration videos of therapeutic techniques on YouTube 

View the book online at How to Hear Me Resource Book

Copyright Disclaimer

The ‘How to Hear Me: A resource kit for counsellors and other professionals working with people with intellectual disabilities’ is subject to © WWILD SVP ASSOCIATION  2011 Inc. All Rights Reserved.

WWILD’s ‘You and Me’ Program – Relationship Cards Resource Kit is now available!

This resource kit has 3 sets of Cards including the Relationships, Feelings and ‘I AM’ Strengths Cards.

The cards were developed by WWILD as part of You and Me Relationships Group program.

They may be used by counsellors, psychologists and social workers working with people with an intellectual disability or other cognitive issues.

The cards, designed for people with intellectual disability, can help workers explore and develop understanding of the complex and abstract concepts of relationships, feelings, and self-esteem.

These cards are best used with other visual and creative modalities to build a person’s understanding and knowledge of different types of relationships, as well as assisting with improving people’s safety in relationships.

The cards come with a booklet of suggested uses that will be available online. Click here to read the Card Set’s Accompanying Booklet – WWILD You and Me Program’s Resource Kit Booklet April 2023

To order please click on link or go to the Shop page. 

Other Resources: 

The Disability Support Toolkit – 1800 Respect

The Disability Support Toolkit has resources for frontline workers supporting people with disability who have been impacted by violence and abuse. The Toolkit is a result of 1800 Respect’s Disability Pathways Project, which aimed to improve responses for people with disability who have been impacted by sexual assaultdomestic and family violence. WWILD clients contributed to this project.

This Toolkit includes:

  • Videos to share with clients on how to contact the 1800RESPECT service and how the service works
  • Easy English booklets that can be downloaded or ordered free from 1800RESPECT
  • Information about the Sunny app.

This Toolkit can be used in conjunction with information provided on their website on Inclusive Practice: Supporting people with disability.


Atkinson, Judy (2020) Working and walking alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people: A practical guide for non-Indigenous workers, Australia, May 2020.

This resource is designed to provide information, concepts, practical skills and suggestions to guide non-Indigenous professionals working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and their families/communities, in particular those who have experienced trauma.

Access resource: https://emergingminds.com.au/resources/working-and-walking-alongside-first-nations-children-and-young-people-a-practical-guide-for-non-indigenous-workers/


The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by actions like the forced removal of children from their families. Their work helps people create a different future. Resources and online training are available regarding the above. Go to: http://healingfoundation.org.au/


Relevant Articles:

Dore, L. 2011, Therapy and People with Intellectual Disability, CAPA The Quarterly; Journal of the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association of NSW Inc., Issue One.

Gallagher, E. 2002Adult Clients with Mild ‘Intellectual Disability’: Rethinking our Assumptions, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 202-210.

Hagiliassis, N., Di Marco, M., Gulbenkoglu, H., Iacono, T. & Watson, J. 2006Beyond Speech Alone: Guidelines for Practitioners providing Counselling Services to Clients with Disabilities and Complex Communication Needs, The Bridging Project, Scope (Vic) & Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria, Melbourne.

Frawley, P., Wellington, M.,., O’Shea, A., McAurthur, G., Plunkett, K & Stokoe, L. (2019). “Putting it into Practice”: Using Specialist Resources to support women and girls with disabilities who have experiences violence and abuse: Final report and guidelines. Geelong: Deakin University. Research report on the development of the Disability Ability Support Toolkit.

Raffensperger, M. 2010, Facilitating Positive Counselling Outcomes for Clients with an Intellectual Disability, A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences in the University of Canterbury,
available at http://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/bitstream/10092/4947/1/thesis_fulltext.pdf


Professional Development and Support:

  • WWILD provides training in Counselling Skills for counsellors working with people with intellectual and learning disabilities. Please contact us if you would like to inquire about this training (Queensland wide), or check our Upcoming Events on our home page.
  • Our counsellors are also happy to discuss and provide support to other counsellors/social workers or psychologists their work with clients with disabilities. Contact us to make a time to speak to one of our counsellors.