National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – are you ready?

By Dr Tommy TranGeneral01 Nov 2017

As many of you may be aware, the NDIS has started its roll out throughout Queensland. In fact there are over 7,000 people enrolled in Queensland already. It is already available through parts of Northern Queensland such as Mackay, as well as the Ipswich and Darling Downs region. The Brisbane metropolitan area will start its roll out in July 2018, but families can get in contact with the NDIS from January 2018.

So who can access the NDIS? To be eligible you must have:

  • A disability
  • Be aged less than 65 years
  • Be an Australia citizen or have a permanent visa

What does it mean to have a disability? A disability is defined as a permanent, lifelong condition that impairs a child’s ability to participate in everyday activities. This might include children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or an intellectual impairment and these two groups of children make up 60% of participants in Queensland.

For children less than the age of 6, early intervention through the NDIS will still be provided for a range of conditions including ASD. You may also still be eligible to access supports without a diagnosis if your child has a condition that significantly impacts their daily functioning and is likely to improve through early intervention. This differs from the previous system, where a diagnosis of ASD or one of the Better Start conditions was required to access funding. This will hopefully provide additional avenues of funding for children with general developmental delays who would benefit from early intervention therapy.

For children older than 6 years, reports suggest that eligibility with ASD requires a diagnosis or level 2 or 3 Autism according to the DSM-5. For children with an intellectual impairment, the eligibility criteria is a full scale IQ score of less than 55. This does open up funding for children with moderate to severe disabilities, who would not have received funding prior to the NDIS.

The impact of a disability on a child’s life is subjective and it is important to consider the impacts on daily functioning when you make an application for support through the NDIS. As part of the intake assessment, a detailed functional assessment is performed, outlining the difficulties that your child experiences on a day to day basis, and how additional support may improve their function in to the future. It can be helpful to think of what you define as a good life for your child, and what support or intervention they will need to experience this.

If you feel that your child meets the eligibility criteria, you can take the first steps by calling the NDIS on 1800 800 110. For more information about the NDIS you can visit https://www.ndis.gov.au/index.html

Disclaimer: As this area is evolving rapidly, the information about may become out of date, so always take the advice of your Paediatrician, allied health professional or NDIS advisor.

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