What the Anne McDonald Centre does

  The Anne McDonald Centre provides assessment and therapy for people -- any age, any diagnosis --with little or no functional  speech.

  If clients' speech  needs  augmentation, we find communication aids they can use.  Then we teach these clients and their support teams how to use their new voices.  Read more...

Download our brochure for more information.

Who comes to the Anne McDonald Centre?

Anyone who can’t speak – including people with diagnoses of
 Autism/ASD, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, Intellectual Disability, Rett  syndrome, ABD, MND, MS, CVA, for starters...

Coronovirus Information

The Anne McDonald Centre appreciates how important communication support is to its clients, but we have reluctantly been forced to restrict our services severely. The Centre will no longer be making client appointments on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. We will for the time being continue to see people urgent help with communication aids on Thursdays, at the 538 Dandenong Road office, and some clients may be seen at Rosemary Crossley's home in Brunswick, usually on Wednesdays. 

The Anne McDonald Centre Office will be staffed on Tuesdays to return calls and to confirm any emergency appointments for the following Thursday - so if you have an urgent need, call us Tuesday or Thursday on 03 9509 6324 or email us at admin@annemcdonaldcentre.org.au at any time. 

If you have bored students (or adults) at home then take a look at Enchanted Learning (www.enchantedlearning.com), a website that provides a huge number of on-line and printable activities for all ages. You can paint yourself a Mona Lisa or learn all about dinosaurs - a great resource.

We are thinking of you in these difficult times, and wish you the very best.
Keep communicating, and we'll be back soon(ish), with new ideas and aids.  

The Centre's Epidemic Policy can be found here (thanks to the Policy Bank at Our Community).  We will review the situation daily and will make whatever changes are required to minimise exposure to risk.

Please ring 03 9509 6324 if you have any queries.

Rosemary Crossley, Director


John Warburton

Sadly our friend John Warburton has died unexpectedly.

John was one of the Centre's earliest clients. His mother, Sue, brought him to us in 1986 when he was attending Yarrabar SDS (for children with IQs below 50).

John had dyspraxia and intention tremor. Once he had been introduced to an adapted communication device he rapidly developed fluent communication and moved to a regular secondary school.

In 1989 John passed the tests administered by the Investigation into the Reliability and Validity of the Assisted Communication Technique. He eventually graduated from Deakin University, majoring in Creative Writing. He won awards for his writing, which often showed his acute sense of humour.


This is a portrait of strange me.
I cannot draw, so you can see
I'll have to paint it all in words.
My eyes are blue, my hair is fair,
My type of speaking is quite rare,
A skinny weed I seem to be.

Inside I am a man of dreams -
Of fearless deeds and cunning schemes,
A handsome superman
In fact, when in a pensive mood,
I'm better far than Robin Hood
Or even Sherlock Holmes.

I'm Liberace on the keys
And white Shark Norman on the tees,
Jack Brabham in the car.
So when you meet me at the school
I may be Armstrong in the pool -
So look out for the


(Norman, Brabham, and Armstrong are Australian sporting heroes.)

And later


Sixteen years of super dreams
Have faded to reality -
No longer images of fame
Drift through my personality.
Once I loved to sit alone,
Dreaming I was flying high
Taking capsules to the moon,
Fighting Rambo! Now I sigh.

Each day I was like a super scout,
Making the world a better place,
Playing tennis just like Cash
In every game I held the ace.
Cached in my mind, a mighty fund
Of stories with myself as hero -
Now at last the sad truth dawns;
Down my hopes have gone to zero.
Here I am, a weakling lad.
What replaces all my dreams?
Earthbound, speechless, without friends,
A teenage misfit in blue jeans.

John had a genuine talent.

John featured in Communication Unbound, Doug Biklen's first article and book about facilitated communication, and in my book Facilitated Communication Training, under the alias Ian.

John and Sue remained in regular contact with the Centre regarding partner training and equipment upgrades.

As the news of John's death has spread, tributes have come from around Australia and the world, acclaiming him as a pioneer and an inspiration.

He will be much missed.

Chris Borthwick, February 2020


The Hero's Journey

Young Tim Chan has written Back From The Brink, a no-holds-barred autobiography from a young man with communication problems who's had every challenge that you can think of, and then some. You can get copies here.

Nothing About Us Without Us

Victor,  Mitch, and Tim, three of the Centre's clients ,took their message to the 2018 conference of AGOSCI, the Australian national communication therapist's conference, on the Gold Coast.  See what they said here.

SBS: The Feed

There's been quite a good documentary on communication difficulties on the SBS, and our Director and many of her clients get a chance to say what's wrong with the system.  You can find it here.


The Anne McDonald Centre has now established a Human Research Ethics Committee to guide its research activities. 

Do you know anybody whose intelligence has been underestimated because they've been tested using the WISC or the WAIS, tests which require speech? 

The Anne McDonald Centre is breaking new ground here - and bringing hope to thousands. See the results we're getting. This is genuinely exciting, and everybody who can't speak needs to know about it.   

Charity tick

 The Anne McDonald Centre now has the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission ACNC CHARITY TICK!

So it's a good time to donate - see the DONATE link to GiveNow over to the right there and down a bit. Help us to help you.

The Anne McDonald Centre calls on the government to fund iPads for AAC

Communication disability and Moby Dick

A piece on non-speech communication that ran the other day on the No Limits program on community television station C31 - including a panel discussion that includes Leane Leggo, the Centre's eloquent president

Here's a short video on the Centre made by Rebecca Seidner, an AAC user

Rosemary Crossley's ISAAC conference  presentation,
 "iPads and the Assessment of Potential AAC users - a game changer"

 Our 2012 ISAAC conference paper, "Anne McDonald  - the advocacy legacy of an AAC pioneer

 "First Words", a 60 Minutes segment on people with autism learning communicate with iPads

What the Anne McDonald Centre offers

  • Communication therapy throughout Victoria 
  • Communication consultancy across Australia
  • Communication leadership across the world
Changing the world – one voice at a time

The Right to Communicate

Everyone – everyone – who cannot speak should have the means and the opportunity to communicate in another way. Read more...

Breaking the silence

Read more  Click here to read more 
and to see the video in larger format

Anne McDonald Centre. 538 Dandenong Road, Caulfield 3162 Victoria, Australia Ph: 03 9509 6324, Fax: 03 9509 6321
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