Literacy rates in Australia reveal a surprising number of people struggle with reading and writing. In fact, about twenty per cent of people have low literacy skills.

For people with disabilities, the ability to read and write is made worse by barriers to education. But improved literacy can have a positive impact on the supports and services that people with disabilities can access, including the Disability Support Pension and the NDIS. So how can you improve your reading and writing skills?

What’s the story on literacy?

According to research published by The Conversation, assistance with reading and writing can increase the chances of a person with a disability accessing a range of supports and services.

People struggle with reading and writing for all kinds of reasons. For example, broken schooling, language issues, and learning disabilities like dyslexia can make reading and writing difficult.

People with disability are statistically less likely to access and complete education. So a lack of literacy can become a significant problem. This is especially the case when accessing supports and services like the NDIS that can involve navigating a sometimes-complex system.

Who can help?

But help is available. Organisations like the Reading Writing Hotline and the Australian Council for Adult Literacy have a range of resources available. In addition, most states and territories have their own literary councils that can provide support and advice.

While improved literacy skills will help you navigate the NDIS, consider too how the NDIS can help you improve your literacy. The NDIS is all about goals, your goals. So, if kickstarting your reading and writing is important to you, build that goal into your plan and use the NDIS to help you get there.

Feeling confident in your reading and writing can have wide-ranging benefits beyond just feeling more positive about navigating the NDIS. For example, think about how improving your literacy skills could help you get a job, do better at university or just build on the skills that encourage your independence. And if you can’t get improving literacy into your plan right now, below are a few tips to get started on improving your reading and writing today.

Tips and Advice
  • Find a mentor: This doesn’t need to be a teacher. But it does need to be someone you feel comfortable talking to and asking questions. Consider asking a friend of family member.
  • Everyday reading: Try to read all the different kinds of text around you. Advertising, shop windows, menus, packaging. Use the pictures as clues to help you work out the words. It’s ok if you don’t get it right because it’s about practice.
  • Write: A good way to improve your reading is to write. Try to write every day but don’t worry too much about your spelling. Just guess and if you get really stuck, ask your mentor for help.
  • Listen: Try following recordings of written material. For example, audiobooks or services like Vision Australia Radio. Or, similarly ask you mentor to record themselves reading something and read along with the recording.

Other resources

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