Updated: May 5
I interviewed Michelle, mother of Kyana, an NDIS participant with autism.
This is Michelle’s kind sharing and insights to help other mums, families and participants to understand how to navigate the often challenging pathway of securing and using NDIS funding for Physio Pilates, and the benefits moving towards her daughter’s personal goals to live her best life.
“It is commonly acknowledged that navigating the National Disability Insurance Scheme is one of the most complicated pathways toward improved quality of life, however after finally gaining access and learning the ropes, it has become a something that has created meaningful change. I would say that accessing the scheme is one of the greatest hurdles to overcome but that it is worth it. It took me a year to complete the NDIS Access form, collect all of the relevant reports from health and other professionals, and countless conversations with friends and colleagues who provided me with crucial tips of what to mention in my daughter’s application to the Scheme. I thought it might be useful to share what I found challenging and helpful.
Firstly you have to tell the story that you or the person you care for, lives with a disability that is pervasive and impacts your everyday life – in a way that constitutes an insurance claim!
In order to do this, the government will require evidence of the impact of the disability. This will look like detailed reports or assessments written by physicians, allied health professionals, education staff, or anyone with a professional title.
Secondly you have to be able to tell a convincing and sobering story of how the disability negatively impacts your everyday life to demonstrate that you require the scheme to assist you to live an ordinary life. You write all of this within the Access Form.
One of the challenges I see often is that people with disability and/or their caregivers are often already consumed by the additional considerations that come with living a life with disability and that this application process adds more to the everyday routine. It is not a quick process to collect, collate and submit this information.
For us, we waited a few months for the outcome of our application and we were lucky to be granted access. We were then invited to meet with a Planner to discuss goals and how the scheme funding might be able to assist. After spending some time going through what day to day life looked like and what I was hoping it would achieve, we received our plan within the month. However I could not understand the plan and what I could then do to spend the allocated money. I was then left to figure out what happened next. Lucky for my daughter, she had been granted Support Coordination funding – funding for a role to help me navigate the scheme and enlist the help of allied health professionals. I later realised that not everyone is granted Support Coordination funding, and that many people don’t use their plan funding because they simply don’t know how to.
After talking to friends in the industry, I figured out that I could use the funding for the Occupational Therapy my daughter had been attending for the last 12 months. It was a relief to have one less bill and to have her attend more frequently if she wanted to. After one year of being within the Scheme, I learned that I could use the Capacity Building funding in the plan for other allied health such as Physio and requested this at one our Plan Reviews. I had been offering a range of options to my daughter but not many had been taken up. I had tried OT, psychology and support staff but she did not like the idea of feeling like there was something wrong with her. In the end, she saw me doing Physio Pilates for my overall health and wellbeing and could see herself doing that as well. She had been interested in gymnastics so pilates was not too big a jump from that concept. It was important to me that she found something with meaning and could use the plan in a way that improved her sense of identity, confidence and helped her live well with disability. I asked her if she wanted to give Physio Pilates a try, and she loved it. I soon learned that her engagement in Physio Pilates could address many of the physical, neurological and mental health related goals that the other therapies were engaged to address. I was delighted to find her enjoying a fun and enjoyable activity that could otherwise be known as therapy. She can see how she is progressing toward her personal goals, living well with her disability and using her plan funding to enable this.”
Thank you Michelle and Kyana for sharing your experiences to help others.
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