Young people with disabilities in Australia often encounter various barriers that can impede their full participation in society and limit their opportunities.

List of Barriers that young people with disabilities face in Australia

Here are five common barriers that young people with disabilities face in Australia:

  1. Limited Access to Education: Young people with disabilities may face barriers in accessing quality education. These barriers can include a lack of inclusive educational facilities, insufficient support for students with disabilities, and a shortage of accessible learning materials. These limitations can hinder their educational progress and future prospects.
  2. Employment Discrimination: Discrimination and stigmatization in the job market can make it challenging for young people with disabilities to secure employment. Employers may be hesitant to hire them, and accessibility issues in the workplace can create additional barriers to entering and succeeding in the workforce.
  3. Inadequate Healthcare and Support Services: Access to appropriate healthcare and support services can be limited for young people with disabilities. This includes services like therapy, mental health support, and specialised medical care. Delays in accessing necessary healthcare can affect their overall well-being and development.
  4. Transportation and Accessibility: Young people with disabilities often encounter barriers related to transportation and physical accessibility. Public transportation may not be fully accessible, and buildings and public spaces may lack necessary ramps, lifts, or accessible facilities, making it difficult for them to participate in everyday activities.
  5. Social Isolation and Discrimination: Stigma and social isolation are significant barriers. Young people with disabilities may face discrimination, bullying, or exclusion from social activities and peer groups. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, low self-esteem, and mental health challenges.

Explore the challenges and opportunities young people with disabilities encounter in Australia. Learn about support systems, education, employment, and inclusion in this insightful discussion on the experiences of young individuals with disabilities.

Key issues for people with disabilities in Australia 

They are often socially isolated, with fewer opportunities to take part in community life. Mental health problems and mental illness are among the greatest causes of disability, diminished quality of life and reduced productivity.

Over the past two decades, the employment rates for young people with disabilities have remained consistently low, despite substantial investments in employment services and programs. While approximately 80% of Australian adults without disabilities are gainfully employed, only 48% of those with disabilities held jobs, as indicated in the most recent Survey of Disability, Ageing, and Carers.

This significant discrepancy means that young adults with disabilities are far less likely to be employed compared to their peers without disabilities. Recent research we conducted also revealed that young people with disabilities who are employed tend to experience better mental health.

Regrettably, the current efforts to increase workforce participation primarily focus on individuals with disabilities seeking employment, rather than addressing the supportive environments and inclusive practices necessary for their successful integration into the workforce.

What percentage (%) of people in Australia have a disability?

More than 4 million Australians have disability, or around 18% of the population. This is also known as the prevalence of disability. 1 in 5 (22%) have a mental or behavioral disorder as their main disabling condition, including: 6.3% with intellectual or developmental disorders.


Young people with disabilities in Australia face a unique set of challenges, but they also possess incredible resilience, determination, and potential. While the path to inclusion and equal opportunities is still a work in progress, significant strides have been made in recent years to create a more accessible and accommodating society.

It’s vital for policymakers, educators, employers, and the broader community to continue working together to break down barriers and create a more inclusive environment. This involves ensuring that young people with disabilities have access to quality education, employment opportunities, and the support they need to thrive.

By promoting awareness, advocating for their rights, and fostering a culture of acceptance and understanding, we can empower young people with disabilities to reach their full potential and lead fulfilling lives. It’s not just a matter of social responsibility; it’s a recognition of the diverse and valuable contributions these individuals can make to our society. Together, we can create a more inclusive and equitable Australia for all.

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