How can a Psychologist help people with disabilities?

How can a Psychologist help people with disabilities?

A psychologist may work with people with disability and other members of that person’s disability team to assess and understand the client’s unique strengths and abilities.

Depending on the presenting issue, psychologists will work to help people improve their lives or achieve goals that clients have set for themselves.

What a psychologist does

Psychologists generally start their approach by completing an assessment and understanding the needs of the client.

Assessment may be for a variety of purpose including:

  • Formal diagnosis (e.g. Autism, Intellectual disability)
  • Identifying Functional Capacity
  • Academic progress
  • Mental Health

The psychologist may assess clients with disabilities to progress in these areas:

  • Learning, thinking and problem-solving
  • Play skills (for child clients)
  • Social skills
  • Emotional literacy and regulation skills
  • Behavioural challenges
  • Skills for independence
  • General Wellbeing

The aim of our assessment process is to formulate an understanding of the presenting issues that will guide the best course of intervention.

Ways of working

Psychologists may work in a 1:1 therapeutic manner with a client and/or their family or they may work in other ways to support clients.

Within a disability framework it is also common for Psychologists tp provide consultation to the system around a client (e.g. teachers, allied health professionals, carers, support workers) rather than providing 1:1 intervention.

Psychologists may provide an assessment only service, providing recommendations for others in the care team to implement.


Psychologists may assist people with disabilities in a variety of presenting issues. Some include:

  • Adjustment to disability
  • Challenging behaviours
  • Communication
  • Coping skills
  • Play skills
  • Social Skill
  • Development of self care skills (e..g toileting, dressing, eating, sleep)
  • Parenting support
  • Transition planning

We use evidenced based interventions to assist people to achieve their goals and outcomes. This may vary depending on the reasons that people are seeking assistance.


Want to find out more? Feel free to contact us on 6381 0071 to see how we can help you or your family member.

Kellie Cassidy

Dr. Kellie Cassidy is an experienced Clinical Psychologist who works with children, adolescents and adults on a wide range of presenting problems. Kellie strives to assist her clients to improve their wellbeing and reach their goals through evidence based and clinically proven therapies.