How to connect with the disabled community in Australia – Showerbuddy

How to connect with the disabled community in Australia

How to connect with the disabled community in Australia

Showerbuddy |

Regardless of whether a disability has been a lifelong journey or something experienced later on in life, the impacts of significant mobility impairment can be as much mental as physical.
It’s not uncommon to hear about situations where an indivudal starts to become lonely and long for human connections with others that understand them. In today’s information age, connecting with communities of people has never been more readily accessible. In a country like Australia, where around 1.4m people report needing assistance due to a physical disability, tapping into communities of others experiencing similar challenges in their lives can be highly beneficial.


In this article we’ll talk about some ways you as a family or a mobility impaired individual can find these communities and why they’re worth exploring.

Discuss with your health provider or OT

The first place to start is with those in your health provider network. GPs, OTs, PTs and even carers may have knowledge of local groups or communities that you can tap into. The benefit of working with a health provider on finding community connections is they’ll have a well-informed knowledge of the best places to start. You’ll be able to access recommendations for groups and activities that are both to your preferences and interests – but mobility level too.

Attend local meet ups

Across Australia you can find local meet ups across the breadth of disabilities. These groups provide an opportunity for individuals and their families to build friendships and potentially even opportunities to help each other. Meetups may be organised with a specific agenda or speaker and goal, or may simply be an open socialising occasion with others with similar experiences. Local meet ups often create communities in themselves as the same people attend each one and over time create bonds. These meet ups may also be used to discuss matters of mutual interest such as resources available.

There will be more than one meetup to choose from. It’s important to recognise that the mobility impaired community aren’t all automatically going to socialise with each other – we all have different personalities that gel in various ways. That’s why it’s a good idea to do your research and try a few different ones (depending on availability in your area).

Online communities

If there’s one huge change to note in the 21st century with regards to finding communities, it’s the advent of the internet as a universally accessible tool. In the early 00s, the online message board or ‘forum’ played host to groups of people from across the world about virtually any topic you could imagine – lifestyles, hobbies and experiences. Disabilities, a group of the population hundreds of millions in size, has been no exception. These websites still exist today and create a place for people to share ideas, support each other and generally provide an environment where people can empathise with each other.
As social media evolved over the 2000 to include ‘groups’, this online channel has most certainly joined if not taken over the place of message boards. With the advantage of being more closely associated with real identities (for the most part), social media groups have been able to facilitate meaningful interactions between people with similar disabilities – the best ones are closely monitored to accept people and moderate when the discourse becomes unhelpful.


Start by simply searching on Facebook a particular mobility impairment combined with your city or Australia on the whole. This may surface groups of people who aren’t just going through the same experiences, but are doing so in a locale where the tips are applicable to you. For more general discussion about the lived experience with that impairment, global communities can also be helpful.

Find groups with interests similar to yours

As we’ve noted many times on our website, the global (and Australian) disability community is huge. Within that community are thousands of sub communities related to various interests or situations. For example, if you’re navigating life in a wheelchair as a paraplegic but with a keen athletic interest in wheelchair sports, you’ll be able to find not just groups but potentially even teams of people with whom you can connect and get involved with.


Perhaps you’re interested in becoming more independent through operating a vehicle with hands only. Or maybe you’re an entrepreneur with desire to be inspired by (or inspire) other business people who have a disability.

There are no rules when it comes to searching out new communities. And by no means does a mobility impairment mean that your only options are within disabled-based groups.

Establishing friendships

Connection within your community isn’t just about group dynamics. For many of us, the relationship with someone 1-1 is more rewarding (and potentially less exhausting!).
Making these connections can be achieved through any of the ways already mentioned in this article, but can of course be built through mutual friends, family, or out and about in your local community. Friendships with those also experiencing life with a mobility impairment can be tremendously beneficial in their ability to provide an understanding ear – and someone for whom you can provide support to as well.


Showerbuddy regularly attends events such as the ATSA conference and OT expos in Australia. These events and others typically bring large numbers of people together and create many moments for meetings. For example the ATSA conference offers mobility equipment brands like us into contact with families and individuals navigating mobility challenges, as well as health providers, therapists, and mobility equipment retailers. It’s not uncommon for these events to be the meeting point for many enduring friendships.

Further reading

Enjoyed this article? You may be interested in these resources online:

The information in this article is intended as general information only and is not a replacement for official health guidance by your local medical providers. Please always consult an occupational therapist and/or local healthcare for more specific guidance.