Involving people with a disability in your station


The Ability Radio Project is a co-production with people with an intellectual disability (ID) and support workers running 14 week courses in radio production skills.

Now, the ARP has created a guide to help community radio producers who want to run radio groups for people with cognitive differences. The booklet is intended as a practical guide to running inexpensive, collaborative projects with disability organisations to make a meaningful contribution to improving people's lives.


The Ability Radio Project (ARP) is a radio training group for people with cognitive differences. It is a collaboration of Community Radio 4ZZZ & Zed Digital, the Community Living Association and WWILD Sexual Violence Project. The latter two organisations work with people with intellectual disabilities in the community. A pilot program was run in 2015 as a 14 week radio group in the training rooms of WWILD-SVP in Woolloowin, Brisbane.

ARP met once a week to learn about community radio, discuss issues with guests, tell their own stories and practice using radio equipment. The group also went on two field trips to the studios of 4ZZZ and the ABC. ARP produced a radio series, Voiceability, for the Community Radio Network. In November 2015, The Ability Radio Project and 4ZZZ were recipients of the Tony Staley Award for Excellence in Community Broadcasting

Ability Radio Training Guide

In 2016, ARP set up a second, monthly group called People of the Air, with more planned in the future.

Template Policy: Disability Access and Inclusion Policy

Kim Stewart, from the Ability Radio Project and 4ZZZ's Station Advocate for People with a Disability, has developed this excellent policy template to help stations document their disability access and inclusion.

PDF icon 2018-Disability Access and Inclusion Policy.pdf

Watch: Building the involvement of people with disabilities in community radio 

Kim Stewart (Ability Radio Project & 4ZZZ), Bernadette Young (612 ABC Brisbane), Caroline Savransky & Kate Wadey (Making Airwaves) and Helen Gwilliam (3CR) speak about how you can involve people with disabilities further at your community radio station.

This session was held at the 2016 CBAA Conference.

Watch: What works? Engaging people with a disability in community radio

In 2017, Kim interviewed PWD from around Australia for her doctoral research to find out what worked for them: how did they get involved in community radio, what helped, what didn't. Kim puts forward a model, based on those interviews, of how community radio might move forward to include more PWD on air and in our station communities.

Kim is joined by Steve Richardson and Paul Price.

This session was held at the 2017 CBAA Conference.

Visual teaching aids for presenters with cognitive differences

These resources, developed by Kim Stewart, are to help train new volunteers who may have communication or social skills challenges, such as people on the Autism spectrum or with cognitive differences.  

The included checklist will help you ascertain (if need be with help of a support worker, parent or someone who knows the person well) the level of a person's communication skills (and if you need to use these guides).

You can also use the checklist to see if the volunteer has developed those skills over their training by using it pre- and post- training. It provides a more systematic way of measuring success.

Each guide sheet includes pictures to help explain the concepts and should be used in conjunction with a role play with the volunteer, in pairs or in a group.  

New volunteers can use these sheets to remind them of what to do for certain tasks if they are having trouble remembering.

Each sheet covers a different radio-specific communication task, see below for the full list.

Please email [email protected] if you have suggestions for other communications tasks that could be added to this set.

The resources include:
  1. Communication skills checklist
  2. How to greet and introduce yourself and a guest on radio
  3. Brainstorming interview questions
  4. How to be a good YouTube DJ (for practicing for on-air announcing)
  5. How to make your radio guest feel at home
  6. How to hold your microphone and speak into it
  7. How to overcome the ‘ums and ahhs’ in an interview
  8. How to greet a new person in group
  9. How to thank someone
  10. How to remind listeners what show and station they are listening to
Further resources

The Ability Radio Project's program has been developed so that it is transferable to other settings and groups, and is designed to be simple for a novice in radio to learn (as radio is not the only goal).

The project is continually developing their materials.

CRISP - Community Radio Social Inclusion Project

The Community Radio Social Inclusion Project is a Australia-wide network of people dedicated to empowering the voices of people with a disability in community radio.

Stations and individuals might need some advice on how to do this, and their site aims to provide some helpful answers.

Accessible Technology at 4RPH

The Community Media Training Organisation spoke to the team at 4RPH to find out more about accessible technology.