Preparing for your NDIS review
Sometimes helping your child to grow and find their unique element involves overcoming the hurdle of disability.
In Australia, we have the National Disability Insurance Agency and they have a scheme to provide funding for people to assist them in daily living and connecting with the community (NDIS).
This article is for Parents/Carers navigating the NDIS and will help with preparing for a review meeting and positioning themselves for the best outcome when reviewing their NDIS plan.
Preparing for your NDIS review can be a really daunting process! I have been in the position of having to navigate the scheme since its trial phase.
As I am writing this blog for you I am also preparing for our next plan review as I go. This has been a great opportunity to review the NDIS website as it changes constantly.
Yes, I have been avoiding looking at the NDIS updates! I find trying to stay on top of all the changes quite overwhelming so I just start researching the latest details when I need to get ready for a review.
This means that I can reduce my feelings of overwhelm and anxiety so that they are not dominating my day to day life and interrupting getting on with life today!
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Remember it is about Community, Community, Community!
As you prepare for your planning review think of as many Community and Everyday examples as you can. If you talk about health and education NDIS services will say that it is up to those organisations to fund any assistance that is required.
NDIA is an insurance agency. So just like applying for an insurance claim for a crashed car you are applying for an insurance claim for disability!
NDIS planning meeting tips
1) So number one tip – Read the current NDIS website.
In doing this today I just learnt that you can request a longer plan up to 3 years!!! Oh my, that will save some major anxiety for some participants and their families. Now I just need to find out if this can be applied to kids!
FYI – This does apply to kids, well teens anyway.
You can also check the website for current information on plan reviews.
You may like to subscribe to the NDIS youtube channel to get notifications of their video releases.
So there are pluses and minuses to a lot of change with the NDIS experience. Sometimes the experience of the participant improves and other times the experience suffers as the Agency learn how to best deliver their service.
Even though the process can be stressful I like to remind my self that we live in a country that gives a lot more support to people in need. Much more than some other first world countries. Being grateful helps you get through the difficult hurdles and get the most out of what is given to you even when it’s not quite as much as you would have liked!
2) Speak to others
I find it useful to communicate with my therapists and friends who have children with disability to get an overview of what might currently be happening with NDIS plans. You can discuss the participant’s individual needs with therapists.
Joining a Facebook group which is for NDIS Participants may be useful as you can ask other families questions. This may also help you in figuring out the type of goals you want to create for the participant.
Sorry, I do not have any Facebook groups to suggest as currently, I am not following any. However, I know that there are some out there and that you should find something relevant to your region if you do a search.
Review your NDIS plan
3) Look at your last plan.
Read the last plan and look at each goal and assess if they were reached or if there is still work to be done on them. Look at what worked and what didn’t in the last plan.
Were the goals achieved? What progress was made?
How were the goals achieved? Think of specific examples and write them down.
Were there any barriers or things that stood in the way that held the participant back? Can you think of any supports to help overcome these difficulties?
What stood in the way of reaching the goals or is more time required to achieve the goal?
You can choose to continue with the same goals if they are still relevant to the things that the participant is working on.
4) The Goals
What worked well this year? What did the participant achieve that met the goals? Make sure that you use community and everyday life examples.
Make a list of the next things that the participant would like to work on.
Pick some things that you think are achievable in the next year and write a goal to achieve this. If you are not sure how to write the goal that is fine. As long as you know what the goal is then the Local Area Coordinator can help you write the goal.
Consider where the participant would like to be in a few years. You can have a longer-term goal for learning new skills, employment or becoming more active in the community.
When I am reviewing the last year I like to write my own report. You do not have to do this but I like to because I have no other way of speaking directly with the planner (The one who decides how much funding you get!)
If you are like me and write out your goals before the meeting you can ask them to not change your goals if you want them written a certain way.
5) Advocating for the participant.
When reviewing a plan for your child/loved one you are advocating for their needs. This means that you need to communicate what the person with a disability wants to achieve, the assistance they require to have their needs meet and the help that is required for them to engage with the community.
Remember that you are pitching the needs to a third party who then will communicate this information to the planner.
The local Area Coordinator (LAC) is the person who will most likely conduct your interview for your plan review (A very small number of complex cases still see the planner directly). This means that the outcome (the plan you get) can depend on how well the LAC do their job in presenting and relaying what you have said in your interview.
The beginning of the review interview may include a functional assessment. This is a series of questions that will be asked about the participant’s abilities. Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat the questions if you don’t get all the detail the first time.
If you are accessing therapy your therapists (eg psychologists or speech therapists etc) may have included in their reports the area where your child/loved one has reached their goals and what they need to still work on to further accomplish their goals.
However, In my experience, I get the vibe from the NDIS that they think that providers are just out to get their next buck.
I get this as they do not want participants to be pushed into using services just because their therapist recommends it (even though their recommendations are based on evidence and experience).
It is difficult for me to digest this sentiment as our therapists have been a crucial part of the team which have helped my child make progress.
I would hate to imagine where we would be today without their expertise, support and training they have given me to carry on strategies that work in everyday life!
The big thing that the NDIS want to know is, does the participant feel like they meet their goals and did their plan help to improve their life by giving them greater connections in the community.
NDIS cover disability support for everyday life. They do not pay for anything that currently comes under health or education.
NDIS community engagement
6) What does the participant like to do in the community.
The NDIS was originally put in place to assist people with disability in the community and their everyday lives. Education already receives some funding for disability and the health care system does not receive extra funding for people with a disability.
What is really making a difference in their life right now and how has the current NDIS plan helped with this?
How has NDIS made life better?
Has the participant been able to attend more community events? If they wanted to but were unable to what was the reason. Would support help them to do what they want to in the community such as attend a football game etc.
Is there a sport they want to be able to play? What is stopping them from playing that sport? Would some specialised equipment help enable them to play?
NDIS review collect your evidence
7) collecting evidence
Collect reports from last year from therapists. Consider writing your own report from the past year.
Are there any new pieces of equipment that you need? If so get quotes organised.
Get your, therapist, to give you digital copies of reports and store altogether in a document folder if you have a computer. If you don’t have a computer you can take a copy of the paper documents with you to the planning meeting.
Write your own participant report or document some way that you are able to recall what has happened in the past year. I have found that when I don’t have things written down it is easy to forget important things that prove how our NDIS plan has helped.
Upload all Provider/Therapist reports and Quotes to the MyGov – NDIS portal.
Click here to go to the NDIS link where you can download the instructions on how to upload a document to the Portal. Make sure that you scroll down the screen and go to Part 4 and download the PDF OR document file that shows you the steps to go through to upload your documents.
I like to create a digital folder on my computer to hold all the documents for the plan that I am preparing for. This way it saves me time searching for things when I need to send reports etc to a therapist or school etc. It also helps me to see what information I provided last year and reminds me of what I might need for this year.
Otherwise, create a folder to put everything in as you are planning and preparing for your review. saves so much time later when you need to save everything again.
If you are planning for a face to face interview don’t forget to put everything together in a folder! There is nothing worse than preparing things and then you leave something home because you put it down somewhere other than in your folder.
No matter your experience remember that you can be in control of your emotions and reactions. See my previous post on NDIS managing the Stress
NDIS Planning Resources
NDIS page with planning information
Also feel free to leave comments below.