Legal Capacity: Implications for People with Communication Disabilities


  • Inaccurate assumptions that people who have communication disabilities have diminished capacity
  • Insufficient communication supports may prevent a person from demonstrating their capacity
  • People communicate with family or others who accompany the person, rather than communicating directly with the person with a disability

Result of Barriers:

  • Often a person is denied their exercise of legal capacity and someone else makes decisions for them


  • Some barriers result from the law itself, some result from behaviour/attitudes and some are a mix of factors


  • People may be prevented from making their own decisions, resulting in:
  • Little or no control over aspects of their life; inability to lead the life they want; frustration, powerlessness and mental health issues