With the NDIS rollout continuing across the country there is no shortage of questions and queries about the scheme. There are also many people who are accessing supports and funding for the very first time who may not be feeling entirely confident in their ability to effectively navigate the scheme. Additionally, myths and misconceptions about how the scheme works are everywhere; and can at times leave you wondering what is true or false!
Over the next few issues of Inform we will be focusing on the NDIS in a series of articles, from myth-busting features to helpful how to’s. To start, we share our top tips for NDIS planning success, including advice on how you can pick a services provider to best suits your needs.
The old saying goes that failing to plan is planning to fail, and this holds true when it comes to your NDIS planning. Remember that the NDIS doesn’t know you and your needs, so the more information you can provide them with the better. No detail is too small or insignificant, and everything will help the planner to develop a plan that best supports you as an individual.
If you are able to, spend some time before your planning meeting gathering letters from your doctors, occupational therapists, psychologists or other specialists that talk about your disability, your support needs and your goals. These letters will be particularly important if you want certain services covered in your plan, as they will show the NDIS your need for them.
In addition, bring with you any photos you think might help the planner to better understand you. Do you need house modifications done? If so, take photos of what needs changing and bring them along – this can help the planner visually see what you need.
Be ready to share
Often when we meet with new people for the first time, we like to look on the positive side of things and present a nice picture of our lives to them. While this works with ordinary social interactions, your NDIS planning meeting is not the time to put on a brave face. The NDIS is here to help you with everything in your life; including the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of it, so make sure you are honest with yourself and honest with your planner.
Before your planning meeting take the time to think about your good days and your bad days, and think hard about what you need on those bad days. Don’t be afraid to talk about things that aren’t comfortable or pleasant – the planner is there to help you, not judge you or the things you say. Pretending that things are better than they are, or that problems “aren’t so bad” could mean your plan misses key areas where you need assistance.
Think big – the sky is the limit
The NDIS is all about helping you to achieve your goals. At its heart, the NDIS is designed to help you as an individual live your best life with the supports you need. And in order to live your best life, you need to think and plan for big things.
Take some time before your first planning meeting to think about your life. What makes you happy? What frustrates you? What makes life difficult? What would you like to continue? What would you like to stop? What would you like to change? It is these thoughts that will help you plan your goals for your NDIS plan and your plan should be full of all the things that are important to you.
Your goals can be as big or small as you want them to be – you can even make them multi-year goals if you want. Your goals and the time-frame it takes to achieve them doesn’t have to be the same as anyone else’s. The NDIS is all about you, so pick goals that you are excited about and that you think will enhance your life.