Lifestart > Services > SpeakUP: Building skills and confidence for participation at school

SpeakUP: Building skills and confidence for participation at school

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What do we offer?

SpeakUP is: 

  • a unique, short-term online program 
  • available to students aged 7-16 years with a disability enrolled in any mainstream school across New South Wales, the ACT, Queensland and Victoria
  • open to young people with or without an NDIS plan 
  • focused on supporting the young person to achieve a goal they have set for themselves. 

How is it delivered?

  • each young person has 6 online video sessions facilitated by an allied health staff member, held out of school time across the school term.  
  • during the sessions, the facilitator supports the young person to identify and express a small, achievable goal related to participation at school, and then works through challenges they might come up against. 
  • involvement of parents or carers (we call them allies) is key to the success of the program, as they are the main support in the young person’s participation journey. 
  • there are 2 learning online modules for allies to watch about our goal setting process and help to build resilience in their young person and 2 online Zoom sessions to attend with other allies participating at the same time in the program.

What is the cost?

SpeakUP is fully funded by Department of Social Services (DSS) through an Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) grant until the end of Term 2 2024. It is delivered at no cost to the participant. But we request that if your young person is not able to attend their scheduled session, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can use the time to see other clients.  

Expression of Interest form

Expressions of Interest for the SpeakUP program are now closed. Follow Lifestart on social media for future updates.

What do past participants have to say?


Talking about his goal, and why he chose it, helped unpack what’s going on at school – he brought up lack of confidence, taking a back seat even when he knows the answers. Just having that conversation helped us understand what was going on for him.” 

“Overall, I’m very impressed with the program. My husband and I can see a massive difference in her self-confidence and, not only that, but the tools that you’ve given her, she can adapt them to other things in life.” 

“SpeakUP reminds children of what they are capable of and gives them practical, concrete ways to achieve goals that THEY have set – things that are important TO THEM.”

“This has been a really great tool for him to open up and find confidence in himself and think outside the box, outside that school-type lesson box of what he can achieve and what he wants to achieve. It’s great.” 

Young people:

“I learnt how to make friends, to talk to them about what they like to do.”

“We have so much fun and they help me feel more confident about having a say at school.”

“I wasn’t really good at solving problems by myself. Now I am more confident that I can do it by myself. It makes me feel proud.”

“At the start mum was arranging everything. Talking to everyone seemed scary. Now, I’m arranging my own play dates with friends. Talking to everyone was cool.”

About Lifestart

SpeakUP is delivered by Lifestart, a non-profit organisation established in 1996 that provides a range of programs and services for children and young people living with disability, as well as their families and carers, with the aim of helping them live their lives to their fullest potential through increased social inclusion and participation. Our organisation is made up of a range of allied health professionals and experts, including speech pathologists and occupational therapists, and is a registered NDIS provider.

It was founded by a group of eight families who used a small amount of funding to run a program in a single classroom in Turramurra Public School. Today, Lifestart supports over 10,000 children and young people, their families and their carers across Australia. It’s a success we’re so proud of because it is a success built on lived experience and a genuine desire to change lives for the better. Explore our website to learn more.


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