Saturday, August 19, 2017

NDIS Particpation Reaches 100,000

Rolling on with the NDIS . . .
This week saw the 100,000 participants being funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Which is being rolled out across Australia over the next 3 years.  It is estimated that once established the scheme will support 460,000 Australians and their families to participate in their communities and live there best life.
Community Participation
But what does it mean?  It means, for the participants (person with disability) and their family members, will have the support to  participate in the social and economic growth of the community.  For a parent of an adult child with a disability, this could mean they can return to full-time employment or study. For a student with a disability leaving school, it means greater choice and more pathways to move to community life. These students now have more pathways and choice of service providers to access, including,  access higher education and having the support they need on campus. 
It's about giving the school leaver the best opportunities to establish skills that enable them to be as independent in the community as their disability allows.  The NDIS is a life long approach to maximise and persons level of independence in the community. 
Thus achieving the key reform for the NDIS is increased social/economic participation.  The Scheme itself will employ people and it is envision over time the scheme an benefit the wider community.  Therefore it is a scheme for all Australians.
Participation & Work Life
Currently my work can be screen 
Until 2nd September
"Cats Exercise Class"
Screen Prints
As my followers know I am a self-employed artist and freelance arts worker. I have just begun working with my first art gallery outside Ipswich. Something that would not be possible without support to attend art classes, purchase art supplies, getting work to the framer and finally a gallery.
Each of these steps are involved in putting my artwork on the gallery wall, involves me making purchases of goods and services. This is the type of economic contribution participants of the NDIS and families are able to make.  The NDIS is not about just providing 'care & support' anymore, its about 'how' we as individuals and families chose to participate in life.
It's about Choice!
Support provided to individuals and their families, is determined by their life time goals and the immediate NDIS goals in their NDIS plan. Their plan allows them to choose how they want to achieve their individuals goals. 
My NDIS goals are around maintaining health and independence; and building my business. I  have made the choice to be self employed. This may not be the image that comes to mind when you think of  participant of the NDIS and certainly its not a choice many participants will make.
Traditionally people with disabilities have had little control or choices in life.  The traditional model of support service meet once your support system was assigned to you, that could determine the support you received for the rest of your life. 
In Queensland that could mean you were restricted to the geographic area where you were being supported, if a family member was transferred, the 'client' would need to reapply for their support or the family member needed to find another job.  For some the lack of choice could be very limited and restricting.
Become a NDIS participant for one of my colleagues, frees them to more out of the Ipswich region and create a new life for themselves. Sounds like a pretty basic choice - but basic choices can be life changing. 
The look of your package does not have to limit the choices and changes you can make.  Simply the freedom to move your supports at anytime without panelity, can be life changing and enriching.
Sure there's the number crunching side of things,  but these numbers don't need to determine your future.
Struggling with Change
 I have found this harder than I imagined. I knew I wanted to keep my creative lifestyle and grow as an artists and an arts worker. Which involved continuing to travel for work.  In the distance is the National Support Studio Office in Sydney.  This is me on my day off, sight seeing.  Living a life equal to my peers, with the headache of setting up to self-manage my own supports.
How narrow minded was I?  All I was concerned about was simplifying my support system and thus the number of workers in my life. Now I did not need to choose to self-manage to achieve that!
The choices were have the NDIA manage my supports under one provider; choose a host and service providers; or self-manager.  Self-management could open-up new opportunities in the future, including engaging and employing my own workers but right now trying to figure out how a bunch of numbers looks like in real life and punch them into a portal budget, makes me wish I was Doctor Who and could be transported into the not to distant future where the NDIS is enabling me to live as an established artists and maybe roaming the world.  (I am dreaming or need to sell a bucket load of art work between now and then).  No the NDIS doesn't pay my airfare. That I need to earn.
Along the way there's a few discoveries that have surprised me. These have challenged my thinking and help me growth.  I thought I respect my staff, but there's been a few points of view that have caused me to broaden my mind. If I am ever going to engage my own staff there's a lot of self discoveries to come. 
I never imagine the transition to the NDIS be prefect, I am sure their be more challenges along the way.  I still to map out how navigate the transport system and its costs to allow me to zig-zag across town during my working day, but at least this week my artwork made it to the art gallery safely.
Tree of life at Sunset

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