Friday, January 26, 2018

On The Count Down

This week I being busy preparing for my solo exhibition opening 9th February. The National Disability Insurance Scheme or the ndis assists me to achieve my dreams and aspirations.  I best describe my lifestyle choices as creative. This includes anything from scrape booking, poetry writing, sewing, blogging and fine arts. I am actively involved in the Ipswich arts community and actively seeks to extend my art audiences.

Setting Goals

If you're yet to transition to the ndis you will want to give some thought to how to express your passions, activities and current life style as goals to your planner.  Think of goals as the things you want to do.  My goal for my first plan is to extend my visual art practice.  For the last 18 months I have being working towards my solo exhibition opening in 2 weeks time.

Deb Chilton presents ...
The Melting Pot
Drawing Point Gallery
(Arttime Supplies)
9th to 24th Feb 2018

My other two goals are around keep my independence and community living.  Your ndis plan will be developed to help you participate in the community. Your goals and how you participate in the community will determine what is in your plan. In pre-planning you don't need to consider your disability or service you want to access, you want to focus on what activities you want to take part in and how you will do this.

So in my planning meeting we discussed the activities I undertake to build my art practice, my networks in the art community, and my social circle. For example, I belong to a local church and I enjoy hanging out in coffee shops and meeting different people.  We did need to discus my disability (I have CP and mobilise using and electric wheelchair.) So one of my goals in this plan was to purchase a new chair better suited to my work environment. 

So let's talk art!  I am part of the supported studio network across Australia.  We are an information service to supported studios. A Supported Studio supports artists with disabilities to create, promote and sell their artwork. Like every other service provider across Australia we are struggling to remain relevant in the ndis environment.   As each artists is funded very differently under the ndis.

 One of the keys could be to express your goals and activities as clearly as you can. 

A professional artists create art to sell.  Remember you will be talking to a non-artists; or if your a sports person a non-sports person.  They with not understand the difference between an artists launching their career; an emerging artists or an established artists.  A visual artist is just as mysterious as a musician, actor or dancer. 'Yeah, but what's you're day job?' Let's face it the rest of the community see us as 'The Dreamers'.

If you are working at professional level you will be selling you art work or at least starting to enter competitions.  As a professional you or your representative need be able to communicate the day-to-day activities you engage in. This may include attending a day centre; belonging to a Supported Studio; working in a in-home studio or belonging to an open studio.  However making art is only on part of your job.  You need to help you planner understand the other activities involve in your job. 

Activities also include: How you want to achieve my goals.  If you goal is to sell you artwork you might be working towards exhibiting you artwork.  This is the main way artists sell their work. So this obviously involves working with galleries. filling in applications, research, framing or preparing work to sell, marking, media commitments, festivals and continuous education. If you're planner thinks you are just sitting in a day service making art to hopefully sell, then that is what you will be funded for.

So if your a horse trainer it might be helpful for your planner to know the type of horses you train or what's involved. Of course these will not be the only activities you engage in.  You will also have social activities, interests and hobbies. 

So you might be thinking, so where in my plan is money to get me out of bed; showered and dressed for work and out the front door on time, for school, work, training. a conference, your art group, respite centre or life skills course?  This type of support may be referred to as reasonable and necessary supports.  It is reasonable you will want a shower after tennis training or working 4 hours in the art studio. 

These supports fall into 'core support' the practical assistance you need every day to get from A to B or even for someone to feed you or your child. If you already receive support you will have a based line of your reasonable and necessary supports, you planner will ask if the is enough. If you have not had support before you my need to have an OT assessment. 

Other supports you might need are assisted technology, mobility equipment, skills training, things to improve your or your child's independence.  The other area of discussion you will be with your planner is the administration of your package. This has chewed up a lot of my time and supports this week. 

I am self managing my funding through a plan manager.  Which until now as meant, I worked with a provider of my choice to establish an agreement. The agreement will spell out what that will mean for my day to day activities. The type of support I access is direct-one-on-one support in-home and in the community. 

In Queensland this means you can now choose the provider(s) you want to provide your supports and how you who like those supports delivered. Even though you now have a choice of providers you may option to stay with current providers and sign an agreement no to different to what it did in the past.

Except your service agreements now a quote needed to be attached. So you or the person managing your funding, sets the amount aside. This is like your weekly household budget on a yearly scale.  A budget ensures you have the money to pay your bills. In this case your supports.

Your three basic plan management option are:-

  • The ndis handles this on your behalf. (note if you are under the public trust this option is encourage strongly). However you can still chose the activities you undertake. preferred providers and how you access their services. 
  • Have someone (host fund-provider) to manage your funds for you.
  • Self-direct and/or self-manage. This week in the processing the restructuring of my supports, I realised just how many different ways to achieve this. From self-directing your supports through a provider; self-managing your funding and service agreements; or establishing your own support team and effectively establishing you own support provider service.
Until now I have been self-managing through a service provider and now I will be choosing my support team on behalf of my provider.  Officially my team will be employed by my Plan Management provider, however I will be doing the recruiting, hiring and training of my own team. If you chose to completely self-manager your funding and hire your own staff you will b responsible for all industry and workplace requirements.

As such these are the skills I have been brushing up on this week. Much of my knowledge was developed during my time of the CATS Board. Skills such as: employer requirements; risk assessments; writing agreements for employees, reports for the insurance companies, setting up my home as a place of employment.  My trainer said 'I nailed it.'

I was just glad to be going into a long weekend, between management training and working on my exhibition I was exhausted. There were a few competitions and gallery submissions I hoped to submit, but in thee end I decided may be next year. .  

Next year my support team will be in place and I will be paying a key worker to do some of the administration around engaging a support team. Presently, I am feeling very blessed to have a strong network of people to assist with the switch to self- directing and self[-management; and my art group to assist with the particular tasks involved in filling a gallery of my work alone! 

I hope to post next week, but if I don't, I am still doing that last minute stuff that I am sure I not even thought of yet. If you are thinking of self managing or self-directing, time management skills are a must, Especially when you're self-employed and if you get sick you still need to work.  "As they say the show must go on! 

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