One of the reason's for the roll out of the ndis is we're not always a perfect fit! My name is Deb and I've just started working to my second plan's goals. During my first plan I tried lots of things that weren't a great fit for me or some of the services or workers I engaged.
I am a visual artist living in the Ipswich area and my goal for my first plan was to extend my visual arts practise and I achieved that through my membership at Aspire Gallery in Paddington Brisbane. Last year I participated in several group exhibitions and I also had a solo art exhibition at Drawing Point Gallery in Ipswich.
During my second plan I hope to have an solo exhibition outside the region I live in. Some of the ways my direct support hours are used to assist me to achieve my goals are:- supporting me in my home art studio; visiting art galleries, delivering my art to galleries and assisting with social media to promote my artwork. This is in addition to using support hours to assist me to live independently and access the community for things like shopping, medical appointments, visiting parks and cafes.
Because we're all individuals and enjoy doing different activities, ndis provides more choices in the way participants can be supported to participate in things like education, sport, the arts, work and volunteering. Each participant will also require a different level of support, thus it was recognised that individual support plans needed to be developed for individual needs and the goals they aim to achieve.
Under the ndis goals are just the things you enjoying doing or might like to try. For some people that involves education and for others like me it means employment. During my first plan I self-managed my own funding. This meant I could engage anyone who had an ABN to enter in the ndis portal. This is how people are paid for the services you access under the ndis. However as a busy artists who is active in the local community I didn't want to do everything myself so I engaged a Plan Manager to give me a hand with some aspects, like ensuring the right codes are punched into the portal. Leaving me time to create and exhibit art.
I am trying to continue on with engaging support the way I always have through a support provider, I hoped by moving to one support service to meet all my direct support needs, ie. personal care, in home support and accessing the community I would be able to organize my support needs around my art commitments. As many activities I take part in are outside working hours, so traditional support services can't accommodate my choices. Traditional services aren't a good fit for me.
My advice is it may take you a while to discover what works or what doesn't for your family. I am now self-directing my own support team and again everyone who chooses this option will do it differently. One of my goals for my second year plan is to establish a solid base to self-direct.
The first way I am achieving this is to engage a Senior Support Person or Team Leader. My team leader acts very much as a personal assistant organising me to get from A to B; doing errands; delivering art and doing the shopping so I can create art to market and sell. In addition to this my team leader does most of my support coordination, recruitment, training, rosters and ensures everyone gets paid.
I have engaged staff in several ways; recruiting through a recruitment agency; engaging in a self-directing support service, contract staff with their own ABN and through online platforms like Better Caring. Sometimes we don't know if I and a team member with be a fit for a few weeks or even months. Every now and again I find either I grate on a worker or vice versa. Even though I might think they are a neat person. That doesn't make anyone right or wrong. So sometimes it takes a while to find the right fit.
Communication is a strange thing; there are times when I think I've been clear only to find somehow there has been a misunderstanding. I also need to remind myself that I am a weirdo. I am an artists and we know artist's have big ego's and of course I am right!!! I always struggle to work with other artists in my studio so for the protection of other artists I won't hire them to support me any more. I think I am too set in my own ways in my studio and my network seems to be working well.
So my journey of discovery continues, I am still discovering what works and what doesn't, I don't always find people I work well with. Sometimes trials don't work. However hopefully I can learn from past mistakes and discover a team that is a good fit with a weirdo!