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06 May 2022

Support for people with disability from multicultural backgrounds.

Many people from multicultural backgrounds experience greater barriers to accessing disability services.

You may have come across the term Culturally and Linguistically Diverse or CALD. This is a term the government and the NDIS sometimes uses when referring to people with different cultural backgrounds.

CALD is used to describe people who were born overseas, or who live in Australia and have parents or grandparents who were born overseas, and are from non-English speaking countries.

Today we’re sharing some useful resources for people from multicultural backgrounds with a disability. Keep an eye out for our upcoming story covering resources for people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.


Multicultural diversity and the NDIS.

Before we get started, let’s take a quick look at some interesting figures.

  • Almost 20% of Australians speak a language other than English at home [1]
  • 26% of Australians were born overseas [2]
  • Only 9% of people on the NDIS come from CALD backgrounds. The actual number is likely to be higher as some people may not have provided information about their cultural backgrounds.

However many people with English as a second or third language still don’t know about the NDIS. [3]


[Image description: A family in their home are smiling at their toddler who is grinning at the camera.]


NDIS-related resources.

NDIS interpreting service.

The NDIS contracts an external company called Translating and Interpreting Services (TIS) to provide interpreting services in more than 160 languages.

If you need to call the NDIS and want support from an interpreter, call TIS direct on 131 450. When connected, ask to speak to the NDIS on 1800 800 101.

You can also use this method to speak to a provider. Be sure to have the provider’s phone number ready when calling TIS.

Services include:

  • Immediate interpreting over the phone
  • Pre-booked interpreting over the phone
  • On-site interpreting (such as at a plan meeting or when meeting with providers).

There is no charge for this service.

Who can help you access an interpreter for the NDIS?

Speak to your NDIS planner, Early Childhood planner or Local Area Coordinator. They can book an interpreter for your NDIS Plan or Plan Review meeting. You can also take along a person who speaks English to your meeting.

Can you get your NDIS Plan in another language?

Yes! You can get your plan in your preferred language or the language spoken by your carer. Just remember to ask at your NDIS Plan or Plan Review meeting.

Other NDIS information in different languages.

Check out the NDIS website for links to resources such as participant booklets, help for children, psychosocial disability and a glossary of key NDIS terms in various languages, including:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese (simplified and traditional)
  • Filipino (Tagalog)
  • French
  • Greek
  • Jindo
  • Italian
  • Macedonian
  • Samoan
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese.

The Leap in! website includes an easy to use translation widget that covers all of our stories, information and most of our resources.


[Image description: An image of the Leap in! website homepage on mobile, showing the translation widget.]


Support and advocacy services around Australia.

National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA).

The NEDA is a national body that represents the interests and human rights of people with disability from CALD backgrounds.

Their website has fact sheets and videos about a variety of topics including your rights as a migrant or refugee with a disability, legal support and the disability royal commission counselling and advocacy services.

The Community Connector program available in the ACT, NSW and Western Australia, supports people from multicultural backgrounds to apply for and access the NDIS.


Speak My Language program (national).

Speak My Language involves people with disabilities from CALD backgrounds and Indigenous communities sharing stories, advice and resources to support living well with a disability. Interviews are available in 25 languages

Listen to interviews in your language at


Diversity and Disability Alliance NSW.

A user-led independent collective voice run by and for people with disability from diverse backgrounds. DDAlliance offers mentoring, peer support and resources and aims to build a peer-to-peer movement across NSW.

The DDAlliance Powerful Peer Project involves trained mentors providing one-to-one peer mentoring support and guidance. Mentors can help you to increase confidence, develop knowledge and build skills. Some mentors have NDIS experience.



Multicultural Disability Services Program (MDSP) WA.

Provides personal assistance at home, mentoring support, help to maintain family relationships, respite care and assistance to participate in community activities.

Their workforce speaks over 75 languages and services are available across all areas of metropolitan Perth.



Australian Migrant Resource Centre (SA).

A registered NDIS provider with qualified and experienced bilingual staff from over 50 language groups. Services include household tasks, interpreting, personal care and community access.



AMPARO Advocacy Inc. QLD.

AMPARO Advocacy is a non-profit community organisation which provides independent individual and systemic advocacy on behalf of vulnerable people from CALD backgrounds with disability.

Their website has great fact sheets about disability in Australia and the NDIS in 39 languages, some with supporting videos.



[1] Australian Human Rights Commission: Cultural Diversity, 2014.

[2] Australian Human Rights Commission: Cultural Diversity, 2014.

[3] Luke Michael, Probono Australia, Culturally diverse people with disability struggling to engage with the NDIS, 8 February 2019.


Leap in! is for everyone.

Are you interested in NDIS plan management but would prefer to ask questions through an interpreter? We can help.

Simply phone 131 450 and ask them to call Leap in! on 07 3724 0368.

We also currently have bilingual plan managers who speak Turkish, French and Arabic, and we’re looking into expanding this soon.


Further reading

Useful NDIS terms.

NDIS glossary: Common NDIS terms you should know.

What does the NDIS pay for? Everything you need to know.