© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
The roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) in 2016 has made the lives of carers of loved ones on the autism spectrum much easier.
Previously, carers had to research and apply for a range of supports through State and Territory government support schemes. For more background on disability support in Australia, take a look at my prior blog, Disability Entitlements & Subsidies for Australians.
The "spectrum" represents a range of conditions that largely fall within three types:
- Autistic Disorder;
- Asperger's Syndrome;
- Pervasive Developmental (atypical autism).
All three involve some form of communication difficulty, difficulties interacting socially, repetitive behaviours, and restricted interests.
Diagnosis usually occurs in early childhood, with the parent visiting their GP and the GP referring the child on for an assessment.
NDIS support of children and adults with autism
Autism is the largest primary disability category for the NDIS and the category continues to grow.
Latest NDIA data reveals that the scheme supports 130,287 autism participants, providing each with an average yearly care budget of $41K. There are 5,402 NDIA accredited service providers providing that care.
NDIS process: children under 7 years of age
If your child is under seven years of age, the NDIA will refer you to one of their Early Childhood Partners. A GP's referral is not required for an introduction to a Partner.
Your Partner will help you:
- Find local support,
- Arrange early intervention carer support from a local accredited NDIS service provider, if appropriate, and
- Obtain NDIS funded care support if the condition is long term.
This Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach is aimed at applying best practice in setting your child up to learn and develop into the future. For more information, refer to this link: How NDIS Works / Help For Children Under 7.
NDIS process: children over 7 years and adults under 65 years of age
If your child is over seven years of age, the process of accessing NDIS care support involves:
- Completing the simple online eligibility checklist,
- Completing an Access Request Form and submitting it to the NDIA, and
- Receiving the Access Decision from the NDIA.
If the Access Decision finds you eligible, the NDIA will be in contact to introduce a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) who will help you set up a care plan and refer you to NDIS-accredited care service provider who can deliver the care outlined in the plan.
If you are not eligible for NDIS support, you can still call on your LAC for assistance. They will introduce you to supports, however you may need to pay for that support.
How long does it take to receive NDIS supported care?
Up until August 2019, families caring for young children on the spectrum were experiencing delays of more than 50 days between receiving their Access Decision and the delivery of their ECEI care plan.
The NDIA Autism Advisory Group set up in 2018, released an ECEI remediation plan in August 2019 to address the issue.
If you need guidance on seeking NDIS support, require immediate care support, or seek more comprehensive support, please feel free to call or email me, Danielle Robertson, for a no obligation, complimentary discussion.
 The latest NDIA data (September 2020)
 How NDIS Works / Help For Children Under 7
 Applying to Access the NDIS: Am I Eligible
 Making an Access Request
 Receiving Your Access Decision
 NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention Remediation Plan