Thursday, August 10, 2017

Moving through the NDIS Mase

Enchanted Forest
Watercolour by Deb Chilton
Aspire Gallery -  MAGE
16 August - 2 September
Finding my way in the NDIS Maze

Making changes to my supports under the NDIS has been an interesting experience.  I remember month's a go writing about is the grass really greener on the other side?  In my case is too early to even ask that question. But yes its a bumpy road to begin with. I am still navigating the maze in regards to transport.
One thing I've been clear on all along is I wanted a more flexible support service to reflect the constantly change workload demanded of a artists, we never know what opportunities are going to appear in the forest.
As an emerging artists I am always looking for new opportunities to exhibit my work and extend my networks. Recently I became a member of Aspire Gallery in Brisbane and this is the second group exhibition I have work accepted for. To some extent it is the galleries and curators who determined my schedule.  Is work is due by 2pm, their not going to wait around to 4 pm for my support worker to start their shift.
As an individual and an artists, I have never imposed limits on myself. Although at present my health is unstable so I am not whizzing around town by myself.  Not that my wheelchair is equipped to transport artwork.
So the most important thing for me was flexibility in service delivery days and times.  So like I share in my last post this determine my choice of provider.  Since I am self-managing, I could of employed my support workers directly.  Something I am interested in doing in the future. However I felt right now there were enough challenges and changes to juggle without recruiting staff. 
Also using a provider givens me the reassurance there are policy and procedures in place to protect me and my support workers.  One of the things I want to do before going do the path of engaging my own staff is to think through these potential risks and write some guideline to protect myself and my potential support workers.
Cats Exercise Class
Screen Prints by Deb Chilton
Currently on exhibit at Aspire Gallery.
My next art goal is to have a solo art exhibition outside Ipswich. Which will be more of a challenge logistically.  At present delivering a small number of pieces to a gallery is difficult. 
As an business owner running workshops for artists with disabilities per-NDIS, access to affordable wheelchair friendly transport was the single most deterrent to an artists with disability workshop attendance.  Here in Queensland this has been on of the first bumps in the road for participants under the NDIS.
Firstly, transport costs for people with disabilities was absorbed into the NDIS. Things like the mobility allowance which assists with the absorption of the costs were linked to the level of participation has in their local community.  The higher the level of participation the higher the amount of assistance.
It was thought an increase in this allowance would cover the costs participants who accessed the Taxi Subsidy Scheme.  Obviously  major decision makes don't rely on taxis.  In Ipswich many participants access transport from a transport provider such as CODI and Able Australia.  In the past the use of these services has eased finical drain on personal budgets. 
The introduction of the NDIS meant the funding for under 65's was pulled limiting the access people with disabilities had to these and other services like them. 
Introducing Pick-Up Australia
A new transport service supporting
people with disabilities in Ipswich.
However the operators soon discovered the couldn't deliver their services at competitive rates due to the business model.  This saw organisations such as Queensland Disability, Community Disability Awareness and Able Australian along with individuals lobby for the reintroduction of the Taxi Subsidy Scheme in Queensland.
However even in the changing landscape transport costs are still a major deterrent for community participation and incentive to gain employment. The flexible support service I choose does not provide transport to participants. Find my mobility on my own very limited out side home very limited due to illness has meant my ability to access even the local community.
I have opted for 2 hydrotherapy session a week.  This one activity cost more that my transport assistance allowance if I use a taxi. My case highlights a floor in the calculation of transport needs through the NDIS.  I am still hopefully trains will again be an option in the near future and my chosen provider is looking into introducing transport services.
Hopefully by the time I am well enough to return to work. This will be possible because otherwise it boils down to using a curiour service to transport my work, which in itself may produce limits on getting my art exhibited outside Ipswich.
However these are early days and I have not given up on my hopes of the freedom the NDIS will bring me and other participants.

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