The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been described as the biggest change in social services in 30 years and offers people who have received very little services in the past the opportunity to access life changing funding. But big changes can be disruptive and a bit scary, and the question on everyone’s mind is how to navigate the planning process to ensure that loved ones get the funding they need.
Planning for an NDIS planning meeting is one of the most important things people can do to ensure they get funding for communication supports that will make a difference in their lives. So, the North West Regional Communication Service has been offering information sessions to support people to do this. Two information sessions have been run, and included information and discussion about setting goals, the range of communication aids available and where to go for support. These sessions were attended by adults with disabilities, their families and support workers. Many of the people who attended had not accessed speech pathology services in a long time and were excited about the possibilities that are now available.
The information sessions generated a lot of discussion about how to navigate a new system that can seem quite alien and daunting. People who attended said that it was extremely beneficial to have the opportunity to exchange ideas with others going through the same process.
The groups recognised how very important it is to be prepared and organised well before your NDIS planning meeting to make sure you get the most out of your NDIS plan.
Here some of the tips suggested:
Be prepared and organised well before your planning meeting
It is recommended to start planning 3 months before your next review. There are lots of different ways to get prepared including planning workbooks and group sessions.
Collect any recent assessment reports and recommendations from existing service providers to bring to your planning meeting.
Think about your goals
Any services requested must directly link to your goals. Think about what your long and short term goals are and what supports you need to achieve these. You can talk to your current service providers for support in writing goals.
Use the language of the NDIS
It is a good idea to link your goals to the buzzwords of the NDIS. This will help your planner to understand that your goals are in line with the goals of the NDIS. Think about how your goals fit in with the following areas: Daily Living, Home, Health and Well-being, Lifelong Learning, Work, Social and Community Participation, Relationships and Choice and Control. The NDIS price guide can be a good tool to learn the lingo.
Write a written justification if you didn’t use all the funding in your plan
There are many reasons why a person might not use all the allocated funding in their plan. There might be long wait lists for services, limited services available in rural and regional areas or an illness in the family. It is a good idea to write down why specific funding hasn’t been used and specify that it is still needed for the next plan.
Know that Support Coordination is available
Support Coordinators are people who can help you make the most out of your funds by linking you in with service providers and helping you understand your plan. You can ask for this to be included in your NDIS plan.
Seek support from others
It can be overwhelming to have to find services, manage funding and navigate a whole new system. Talk to family and friends about your experience and ask them to share theirs with you. Do they have a great speech pathologist that they can pass on to you? Can they pass on pearls of wisdom for preparing for planning meetings? It can make us feel supported to connect with others who are going through similar experiences.
- You can have more than one communication aid funded
- Provide a quote where possible
- Ask to see the plan before it is finalised
- Bring someone with you to the planning meeting
- Ask for a review if you are not happy with the plan
- Swallowing assessments and reviews are currently being funded by the NDIS
Organisations or groups in the North West Metropolitan Region can contact the North West Regional Communication Service if interested in hosting an information session facilitated by the North West Regional Communication Service.