You’ve had your child’s NDIS planning meeting, what next?
Have a plan for yourself following the planning process.
As a parent or carer, it can be hard focusing on the negatives or ‘skill deficits’ of your child! Think about how you are advocating for your child, rather than focusing on the negatives. After the process, make space for yourself to ‘recover’ and shift your thinking back to how amazing your child is, the progress they have made, and their strengths. It may be catching up with a friend for a coffee and debrief.
If you aren’t happy with your child’s plan, you have around 3 months to ask for a review. A few things to think about: start using and spending the plan. When a review is finalised a whole new plan and budget will be created. There is no reason to not start spending.
If you are under ECEI, contact your NDIS person (the one you did the meeting with) and ask them to lodge a review. It is simple to do. You will then be contacted by an NDIA representative to discuss your child’s needs and what you need, that wasn’t addressed adequately in the plan. This is where good reports are important. If they clearly state recommendations for therapy and equipment that wasn’t included, make a point of highlighting these shortcomings.
Follow up with your planner
Follow up with your planner post planning meeting. This is especially important if you ran out of time or raced through some points near the end. Also, if you haven’t seen the final goal wording, definitely ask to see (and make changes if needed) before they are submitted.
Reach out to your NDIA planner
Sometimes it’s hard to access the full plan in the portal. The planner can email a copy to you so you don’t have to wait for the postman. You can also ask them about specific information that has been sent to them from the NDIA which may include specific information on how a decision was made or why something wasn’t funded. If there is any detailed correspondence, ask the planner to email you a copy for your information and records.
Rethink agency management
Some families chose this option in the beginning as they didn’t feel confident when there were so many unknowns, and that is totally reasonable. But if you feel like you have more knowledge and understanding of the system, you may choose to change to Plan Managed (great if you feel you still want some support) or Self Managed. It seems fewer therapists are registering as ‘NDIA providers’ and some who have previously registered, are now letting that lapse. There is time and money involved in being registered.
Why is that important, you ask? If you are Agency Managed, you can ONLY use registered providers. Sometimes it’s going to mean you can’t use a therapist you want. It also means you can’t buy your child’s nappies at the supermarket. And you have less flexibility, choice and control than you would like.
Find out what the planner submitted
Ask the planner what they have recommended to the NDIA, and if there is something you asked for that they haven’t included. This is important. If they have made a call on whether something is reasonable and necessary, and it’s important to you, you will want to know and have an opportunity to advocate for what you want.
If you get to the point where the planner disagrees with you, ask them to document that you disagree with their decision. This information will then go to the decision-maker in the NDIA.
Embrace choice and control
Instead of calling NDIA and asking if you can buy this or that with your child’s funds, do some research and take charge yourself. After all, the person on the other end of the line doesn’t have nearly enough information to make an educated decision) If you are self-managing, you can refer to the questions listed in the NDIA guide to self-management booklet. If you are Plan Managed, you could speak to your Plan Manager.