The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supports people with an impairment or a disability that effects their ability to take part in everyday life activities. It's crucial to enable these participants to access mainstream and community services which supports their independence, early intervention support and innovative services.
To be eligible to receive NDIS funding a participant must meet certain access requirements.
-live in Australia and in an area where the NDIS is available
-be and Australian citizen
-meet the early intervention and the disability requirements
-be under 65 years of age
When children are under the age of 7 and have a developmental delay or disability, they fall under the Early Childhood Early Intervention approach. This provides families with quick access to supports and children under 7 don’t necessarily need to have a diagnosis to connect with community health services, short-term early intervention supports and mainstream supports. The early childhood early intervention approach helps families to request access to the NDIS for when they require care that is long term.
Children over 7 falls into the NDIS pathway and be eligible for funding if they meet the disability criteria.
-has a permanent disability
-needs assistive technology, home modifications or equipment to perform daily activities
-requires care and assistance from other people daily
Autism and NDIS
Autism (ASD) is a condition that affects how a person behaves, thinks, feels, interacts with others, and experiences their environment. It’s a lifelong disability in which therapies and services are used to enhance development, support well-being, and develop social interactions and relationships.
Autism is a spectrum which means it looks different for everyone, autistic individuals will have different strengths and face different obstacles.
Some of the more common challenges of autism are.
- the experience of elevated levels of anxiety
- difficulty coping with change
- ritualistic behaviours and fixations
- difficulties with emotional regulation
- sensory issues/sensitivities
- difficulty communicating needs and wants
- social awkwardness/phobia/delay
There are three levels of autism in which determines the severity for everyone on the spectrum.
-Level one. Is the mildest, or ‘highest functioning ‘form of autism. This level of autism still requires some support but can maintain independent functionality. Individuals with this level of autism may have previously fallen under the diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome.
-Level two. Requires more substantial support, it is the middle range of autism in terms of severity and support. People with level two tend to engage in repetitive behaviours and have more obvious problems with verbal and social communication than that of level one.
-Level three. Is the most severe form of autism and requires very substantial support. This level is categorised by severe challenges in social communication as well as extremely inflexible behaviour. People with level three autism require help with day-to-day functioning, caregiving may be needed across the lifespan.
As mentioned, Autism is a lifelong disability, so one would assume NDIS funding for all levels of autism would be automatically eligible. However, its only level 2 autism and level 3 autism that are almost immediately covered by the scheme and level one requires further assessment. There is a need to provide extra proof based on communication, mobility, social interactions, learning abilities, self-care, and self-management. Basically, there needs to be more evidence about how the disability impacts functionality for daily life. Reports and assessments from a Psychologist, Occupational therapist, speech therapist of a member of a multidisciplinary team can assist with this.
Level 1 supports
Support will look different for everyone, but ASD level 1 autism may require supports to assist with.
-Inflexibility and challenges with behaviour
-Assistance with transitions
-Emotional regulation support
This support may be achieved through accessing services and therapists such as.
-Occupational therapist, to assist with sensory integration, motor skills, transitions, and emotions
-Speech therapy, to assist with communication
-Behavioural therapy, to assist with emotional regulation and social skills
-Play therapy, to assist with play and social skills
-Nutritional therapy, to assist with sensory needs and food aversions
Autism funding NDIS can be a confusing topic and if your child falls under the level one category it may be frustrating and disheartening to know you need to continue to advocate for what your child needs. But if they need assistance with living their day to day lives then in most cases with the adequate reports and assessments it should eventually fall under the eligibility that is deemed necessary.