In November 2014, a conference in the ACT run by Imagine More had Fiona May, the CEO of one of the ACT advocacy services, ADACAS (ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service) present a paper on the NDIS. She covers various steps and issues people with a disability, and their families need to think about in going forward in this new paradigm.
It is an easy to listen to presentation, with clear ideas and steps to consider. Some of the key messages in her presentation are:
- there will be meetings;
- planning is important;
- think about everything from the paradigm of "your core"(eg self care needs), your "capacity", (inclusion and community capacity) and your “ capital” requirements (equipment);
- think about the line items which you don't see currently, but need to have built into your plan, such as case management, and how many hours that is realistically, And this is not just the time your current case manager spends in face to face time with you;
- ask your current service providers about hours and support you currently receive, and what they think you could also be doing if the funds were available;
- some great ways to think about how to get respite, under the new system;
- if you are doing something, such as going to a craft group, what are your needs here, eg: how do you get there (transport needs). do you need a 1:1 support person in that environment, when it is new, or ongoing, etc;
- get an advocate to help you in the meetings, to review draft plans and preparation for the next meeting;
Every plan does need to identify if you are planning to self-manage or the NDIA manage your funds. However, as part of your plan you can choose to self mange just a small part in this plan. As you review your plan (yearly), you can change this to increase or decrease the amount you self manage, if you want to.
Critically, Fiona mentioned, don't fight the system, work with it; this is the new paradigm. She reported, participants who have been through the process, have reported it is not as scary as what they had imagined, but you do need to be prepared. Once the plan has been devised and approved, there are opportunities to appeal, but fight your battles, don't try for the "whole war." There are lots of ways to provide feedback, as the NDIA learns and beds down this new paradigm. Your plan is reviewed every 12 months, but you can also ask for a review earlier than that.
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