Thursday, December 28, 2017

Travelling the NDIS Road

On The Purple Road

This week I spent time with my friends and family as I celebrated Christmas. As usual this time of year brings reflection and resolutions. 


The biggest change in my life this year has been the transition to the National Disability Scheme, know as the ndis. This scheme is the new way people with disabilities and their families are assisted in their daily lives. These types of assistance or support may include:-

  • Help at home
  • Support in the community
  • Respite care
  • Life skills training
  • Early intervention programs 
  •  Group activities
  • Equipment
  • Home & care modifications 
  • Enhancing independence
  • Job supports
  • Medical aids
  • Assisted technology 
  • Threaphy such as physio, speech, OT, behaviour management, counselling and arr thready.
  • Supported accommodation

Each participants package is decided on their ndis goals (activities or outcomes); the family dramatics (or informal supports); the support needs of the family as a whole; and assistance needed to achieve the participants goals.

ndis goals are based on the types of activities the family and the participants wishes to engage in or the things you want to do. Not the services you want to use.

Once you receive confirmation of you package you are able to then supports you want to access. For some participants day to day life will be unchanged while for others it may be life changing.

My ndis goals are around establishing my art practise and introducing my work to new audiences.  Someways my package has assisted me with this goal are:-
  • Engaging a support network to support the demands of my art practise and my Ignite Artists Network. Choosing support times around the creation of artworks.
  • Employing specialised art support to work towards group and collaborative art exhibition.
  • Purchasing a new powerchair to allow me to work more effectively in the community. 
  • Empowering me to self-direct my own staff and supports.

One of the key reforms the ndis introduces is to encourage families and individuals to participate actively in the community. I achieve through running my own art business and being involved in a number of community activities: such as Ipswich Rocks.

Create or decorate rocks; hide them in local parks; alert people to where your rocks are hidden. find rocks hidden by others; snap it and post it to facebook; then hide the rock in a different places. Ways you and your family might engaged or engaged in local community are:
  • Being involved with a local support provider(s); participating in sporting and social groups or attending activities;
  • Developing life skills: this may be through a support provider; one on one support; or provided in the general community.
  • Continuing education: you or your child may be at school or studying post school. So you ndis goal might be to finish your education;
  • Training, job training; looking for work; employment or volunteering:
  • Sports and recreation: this might be a camp for siblings as part of a school holiday program; camping with your support provider; play sport in a local community team; going swimming with a support worker.

These are some of the many ways participants and their families might chose to engage in the community.

NDIS Choices     

The main steps in establishing your supports under the ndis are:

  1. Pre-planting - Understanding what you do now: or the types of activities you want to do. (These will become your goals)
  2. Meet with you planner - Confirm your ndis goals; decide how you want your packaged to be manage; discuss your goals and daily activities; lifestyle; current supports (including medical and technical aids); discuss things that will enhance your independence and lifestyle; highlight where you think the gapes in your supports are.
  3. Plan approval -you will receive a copy of you ndis plan that will set out your budget and what the money can be spent on. Things in my budget are: Plan management; Equipment and maintenance; transport allowance; improving daily living and core supports. Core supports are supports provided by a disability support provider, such as centre based supports, in home supports; community access; respite and recreation supports;  If you are not happy with your plan you can request a review and making an appeal. ndis is about empowering people with disabilities and their advocates to speaking up.
  4. Selecting you providers: Your plan in about you and your goals not the supports you want to use. Once you receive your plan and thus your budget you can speak to your current provider(s) or new providers about the services you can afford to purchase. 
  5. If he ndia is managing you package on your behalf your LAC will assist you with this process.  Their are many ways participants can chose to have their package managed.  The person or organisation assist you to manage your package can also assist you in talking to support providers and navigating support agreements or you might be self managing like me.
Today sees the completion of the roll out for the ndis in Ipswich area, supports for Ipswich residences is now paid for by the ndia.  The roll out of the ndis across Australia will continue until the end of 2019 where all assistance for people with disabilities is provided by the ndis.

Participants and their families have had varying experiences with the introduction of the ndis. Some participants have experienced little change to the services they are accessing, it was expected that many participants would continue with their current providers. For others like myself the ndis has been challenging, empowering and life changing. 

Transitioning to the ndis has brought much to my life, flexibility and supports and the way I use them.  Not longer am I lock into x hrs of in house support and x hrs of community access supports, gone is my 8 o'clock curfew. Currently having all my core supports with one provider means one roster. As I am partial self-managing I am no longer obligated to use services from disability support providers. 

I have been engaging a small family business to help me doing some projects around the house and install raised gardens beds. For me the ndis has been very much about accessing the community and improving my health and well being. From next week next week I am locking forward to using the gym and physio active.

Looking Ahead 2018 Goals

My next solo art exhibition opens on the 9 th February with flexibility in my core supports in the next six weeks I will be able to access more support to put my exhibition together.

In The Melting Pot
Drawing Point Gallery
Opening Night 9th February 

Exploring Dirvesity
One of the roles I really enjoy is being and advocate for other people with disability, especially when it comes to accessing the arts. I achieve this in a few ways through my business Ignite Artists Network; Representing Queensland Supported Studios and empowering artists with disabilities; being involved  in promoting participation in the Ipswich community for people with disabilities; and through the art work I produce.


Many people in the general community still struggle in their understanding of 'what is disability' and 'how does it impact on a person's life.'  To a large extent our understanding of is based on they way we as individuals encounter disability. For some when they think of disability they associate this with welfare cheats and fake injuries; for other it is the injuries themselves - physical disability is very visible; for others the think of people with intellectual disabilities they see out and about; or the kids that attend special school.  

All of these are the face of disability and many more disabilities are unseen such as epilepsy and Asperger. Disability is define as an impairment that restricts normal functioning. Just as no two disabilities are the same; not two people are limited by disability in the same way.  There are many other factors that determine abilities and the way the disability impact's an individuals life.  The many stereotypes we hold concerning disability are in fact a typical.    

This is the very reason Australia is transitioning to the ndis.  Time and time again approaches to disability support based on generalisation and stereotypes have failed. Individuals with disabilities need be supported as individuals.    

My goal in 2018 is to promote this message when it comes to disability their is no norm. It is not the person's impairment that disables a person it is the barrier both physical and other wise we have built as society.

The ndis has come with many challenges of the community and inclusion, for employers and accessible; for service providers and changes to service delivery; for the sector and the empowerment of participants and to the participants themselves and learning to voice their choices.

Readers of my blog know the many frustrations I have faced in the co-ordinations of my support. Some support providers are struggling with both the increased demand for services and the shift in buying power.  A years end I see many positive changes and over time if participants and their advocates are able to voice their choices.

In 2018 I join he ndis community compasity building committee to support providers and business to embrace the objectives of the scheme,
My hope for 2018 is to see the ndis evolve to stage where all of us are empowering each other to create the change the ndis was designed to create.

Keep walking towards your best life in 2018.  .  

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