Thursday, November 9, 2017

Chasing Dreams with the ndis

Flying High 
with the ndis

The National Disability Insurance Scheme was created to assist people with disabilities and their families to "Live the best lives'. To achieve this participants should have access and support to engage in activities their peers engage in.

For example like their school friends families with disabilities should be able to enjoy holidays that are compatible with their family budget. This means finding  accessible accommodation, transport and access to the same supports as they do at home.  This doesn't mean the ndis pays for the holiday itself.

For tips on travelling and booking accommodation go to Travelling with A Wheelchair.

Similarly students with disabilities should have the same post schools options as other students, this includes, further education, work skills training, support to find employment, support to maintain employment, life skills learning, post school opportunities. supporting interests and moving out at home.  Some students will need more support than others to find the pathway after leaving schools.  Some students may need support to adjust to life after school and the different social skills that means.

For some group activities will best meet their needs such a adult group social activities provided by a support provider, while others might want to develop skills that may help them move and live independently in they community. More and more students with disabilities are taking opportunities to undertake study or training when they finished school. Under the ndis they can now ask for support to be able to complete there post school training, this includes accessing support from support workers on campus. 

Even those with learning, intellectual and behavioural disabilities can complete post school study given the correct support.  The just might learn differently or more slowly than the general student population.  Although their are now online study options students with disabilities should not be limited to these.

Less than 30% of students with disabilities will eventually find work in the open workforce. For these students and/or family members who care from them at home, this will limit their potential for income.  Unemployment is not always the result of a persons ability to work, it is often  a result of discrimination  or workplace being inaccessible.  The ndis can now assist with both these issues through compasity funding.  Money is available to employers to make their work places accessible for successful applicants and participants should talk to the employment support service to find out what assistance may be available to a prospective employee.

Disability should not be the barrier to employment it once was.  Each participant is an individual with their own individual challenges.  Participants packages should be too enable them to meet these challenges and enjoy the same activities in the community as their peers.  

Not every person living with disability is employable.  However employ-ability does not determine the ability of a person to work. These are two different things.  Some people can overcome this challenged by becoming self-employed and opening business like myself.  My CP is not disabling enough to prevent me from working, but finding an understand boss to allow for uncontrollable seizures is hard going.

Changes in our work environments and industries allow some people with disabilities to work remotely.  The IT industry is a perfect example of this.  My IT support is in the main done remotely.  I too work remotely as do all State representatives for Support Studios Network, e meet via skype.

Just as workplaces, industries including the disability sector are undergoing change, so do we need to support and assist with changing community perceptions and understanding.  Inclusion is only possible if community attitudes are transform. This also falls under the role of the ndis. 

The way we deliver assistance to people with disability is evolving. We are moving from a care and protection model of disability care to one of engagement an participation.  Including  the direct participation of families and individuals affected by disabilities.  No one understands the abilities and needs of these people better than themselves.  Modelling using social norms have failed and environmental influence dramatically change expected outcomes.

This includes: family difference and values; access to education, nutrition and technology; disposable income of the family, access to therapies and alternative treatments and community supports.  This is why expenditure in this area by the ndis is vital.  For people living with disabilities to be able to access the same opportunities as everybody else the must be given the correct support to be able to access these opportunities.

Thus the ndis addresses the rights for people with disabilities and this is needed greatly in the area of accessing the legal system and fighting against discrimination.  People with disabilities and family members are twice as likely to experience discrimination, however their perceived level of understanding often denies them access to natural justice. 

Many have had the voices stolen through years of inequality, enforced poverty, and economically and social isolation.  The fear of repercussions for voicing their mistreatment or lack of rights are still raw.  This make it hard to continue to advocate for themselves even through many rights and support underpin the principles of the ndis legislation.  Where participants and family members feel the ndia or support organisations are failing to in power choice or enable the person to access the community in a way the set out in their plan,  then the must make a complaint and seek an independent advocate. Advocates will advise where decisions may be appropriate or inappropriate.  It is essential to speak up for yourself.  Even though it is difficult. 

I am practising this myself.  As you know I have been self-managing through engaging staff from support providers but this has not provided me with the stability or flexibility my art practise requires. Purchasing support services in no longer about finding the right box for you.  It should be able service creating the service to meet your individual requests.

Provider(s) have failed to deliver on the terms of the agreements we both signed.  Just as they would penalise me if I broke the agreement I am penalising them by taking my business elsewhere. I could let fear of the unknown seize me into accepting an inferior service or empower myself to make change.  Yep it could go pare shape, but things aren't too rosy now.

Tomorrow I continue to build my art practise by hanging my exhibition is a new setting.  I don't often hang my own work so this will be a skill extension for me as well as introducing  my work to a new audience.

I continue to enjoy chasing dreams as part of my ndis goals. 

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