I think this is most important to discuss because I have heard a lot of people in the mindset of “Awesome we are going to get NDIS, what is it going to allow me to do?” Let’s change our way of thinking. Although we have limited funding and guidelines to follow, it is important to make your package work around you and whatever you want to do in life. Simple example is that one of my goals is to use my social work degree at Uni. To allow this to happen I have funding to allow support workers to drive me to and from Uni, and sometimes to come to help me with lunch. Of course it wouldn’t happen if I didn’t communicate with my workers about times, because they are always changing times, and what part of the university I want to be taken to. Therefore communication is most important within the NDIS process.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t want you to think it’s all about “I want, I want, I want.” No way. You have to ask questions. This is where my plan coordinator comes in, I got my first plan like March this year and other than my personal care I didn’t know what to do with my funding.
My coordinator always welcomes questions, however I had to learn reasonable and necessary and to think for myself. An example is when I was buying a new phone. I don’t need this phone because of my disability. Everyone has a phone today. However because of my disability I’m not able to physically hold my phone in my hands therefore this phone mount was considered reasonable. I got this mount at a little pop up phone shop, emailed the receipt to my coordinator and they reimbursed me. Easy. I’m not going wild trying to get everything funded. It’s important to appreciate what you do get, but for a single lady that thirty dollars saved a lot. Another one of my goals is to move out of home. My coordinator is doing a lot of work on this. It is important to go every little step to ensure that whatever it is you are working on is going to work for you personally. It would be no good if I was put in housing that was not accessible and not what I wanted...Therefore we need to look at every step and what assistive technology am I going to need to be as independent as possible, questioning what assistive technology do I need to open doors myself, to turn lights on, to let someone know if I need help through the night. Everything has to be considered.
I have another goal of traveling, like every other girl. However please don’t think NDIS will pay for your holidays. Sadly they don’t and of course they don’t, everyone has to pay for their holidays. However it is most necessary to have a support worker with me wherever I am. Therefore NDIS funds a worker to support me on holidays for x nights a year. Because I self-manage my workers, they get paid at a certain rate, which usually allows us to pay for my workers airfares out of this block of funding. Without this in place I wouldn’t be able to travel because no way I could afford to pay for two of everything.
Now I have choice over which service I want to use like any other person. I think the most important thing I want you to take away today is make the NDIS work around you and your life. Do whatever you need to do.