Examples of services and support

Real life stories of participants involved with the NDIS

Alex eyes greater independence

Alex, 23, lives with intellectual disability, dyspraxia, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. He lives at home with his mother, father and sister, where his behaviour often causes conflict. Alex is keen to get a job, and eventually to move out of home with some friends. He really enjoys going for trips on the bus, going to the library and going to the local caf – all of which he can do independently. Once a week he goes, with a support worker, to the country music night at the community radio station.

Alex’s family has been providing care and support for him in most areas of his life, including personal care, planning and decision-making, domestic assistance, transport and supporting interpersonal relationships. The caring role has become one of increasing stress and burden and has significantly affected the health and well-being of all the family, particularly his mother, who also has a caring role for her 96-year-old father.

Through the planning process, Alex identified his primary goal as having a job. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has been able to assist him to increase his work-readiness skills, individually tailored to build on his strengths and interests and to link him with potential employers. With the provision of supports to transition to more independent living, the NDIA has also been able to assist in supporting the informal care that the family provides, enabling them to have a break and to feel able to continue in this role until such a time that Alex moves out to live independently.

Building on Alex’s skills in accessing his community, the option and flexibility is now there for him to choose to attend an increased range of activities and events and to further his interests and social circle. When presented with this plan, Alex said: “This will be good for me”.

Hope’s active life

Hope is 17 years old and is legally blind, has motor ataxia, a learning disability, and low muscle tone. All of Hope’s activities require some level of support from family, funded supports, school or community.

Hope attends a mainstream college with support from an aide and lives with her family in a semi-rural setting. Hope has an active life; she is a girl guide, does horse riding, piano lessons, gym membership, church attendance, rowing, and has a maths tutor. Hope aspires to go to university to study zoology. Hope also wants to do a certificate course in animal studies, plus hands-on experience as a wildlife rescue volunteer to further prepare her for zoology, and gain casual employment in this field.

To prepare for this ambitious goal, Hope has planned for assistance to complete college with the right subjects. To meet her study aspirations, Hope needs to complete homework and study after school. However, because she catches public transport to and from school from some distance she leaves home early and comes home late. This, plus her learning disability and motor ataxia, leaves Hope exhausted and with diminished capacity to properly complete her studies and chores at home.

Hope has in-kind, in-home supports for learning skills, such as cooking and domestic activities, and companionship at home. Hope and her family plan to negotiate with these service providers to broaden the scope of these supports; with some additional hours and travel costs. Hope would like to upgrade the role of these workers to become mentors/buddies and assist Hope in achieving her pre-vocational activities and life skills; supporting her to volunteer at wildlife sanctuaries; join community clubs; assist with independent budgeting and shopping; and mentor her through her educational aspirations.

Pippa keeping busy

Pippa is a middle-aged woman who has had total vision loss since birth. She lives a busy life that includes part-time work, part-time study and various social pursuits with friends, such as dinners and concerts. With the use of aids, technologies, strategies and her guide dog, Pippa completes all daily pursuits independently.

Pippa’s goals were to maintain her participation in employment and study, increase her social participation, improve efficiency in maintaining independence in tasks at home and in the community, as well as maintain her independent living situation. The support that Pippa receives from her employer and educational institution were acknowledged in her plan. The following support needs were identified to enable Pippa to meet her goals.

  • Aids for daily living activities include talking kitchen scales, talking barcode scanner (product identification aid), talking clothes sensor and other talking devices. Pippa also uses organisation strategies and sense of touch to independently complete daily tasks. She reported that daily tasks require increased concentration and time to ensure safe and thorough completion. The impact of house cleaning on productivity in other areas of life and the uncertainty of not missing spots before hosting visitors was discussed.
  • Technology to access print materials includes the Victor Reader Stream (a portable device to listen to downloaded audio newspapers/magazines/books), text-to-speech computer software and text-to-speech scanning device of print materials.
  • Communication technologies include the iPhone and iPad with the “Voice-over” accessibility feature to enable independent and portable access to menus, contacts lists, text messages and emailing. Pippa’s portable Braille device enables wireless input to these technologies.
  • Mobility: Pippa’s guide dog is crucial to her independent mobility. Pippa independently travels to study and work using public transport and support from her guide dog. The need for orientation and mobility training for independent navigation to new destinations was identified. Taxi transport allows Pippa to get to irregular appointments.

Funded supports in Pippa’s plan included the following:

  • Costs associated with the upkeep of her guide dog (food, vet costs and worming)
  • Orientation and mobility training for foreseeable travel to new destinations. These were related to study and social participation.
  • Taxi fares
  • Victor Reader Stream (current one was on loan)
  • Upgrade to computer text-to-speech software (to ensure optimal efficiencies with use)
  • Text-to-speech scanning device (Pippa was accessing one at university)
  • Fortnightly home cleaning assistance.

Should any of Pippa’s aids/technologies require replacement/upgrades Pippa was informed they would be considered in her plan at that time or at review.

Pippa’s plan ensures more efficiency in independence at home and in the community, increased social participation and ongoing participation in employment and study.

Margaret targets a career

Margaret, 58, of Newcastle, with long-standing spinal multiple sclerosis, has been assessed as medically unfit for employment.

She has recently had an arm operation and gave up the business course she had been studying as a result. She felt that the repetitive nature of typing, in particular, would prevent her from obtaining even part-time work.

She therefore, needed to reassess her career direction and employment opportunities.

In developing her NDIS plan, Margaret nominated the following goals:

  • gain part-time employment
  • increase social participation in a creative way
  • improve skills
  • maintain independent living.

The supports provided by the NDIS addressed independence included one hour per week of domestic assistance.

After initial discussion of Margaret’s interests, it was agreed to pursue her creative side. After several options were ruled out she settled upon floristry. She used to enjoy hours in the garden which she is now unable to do. She is familiar with the botanical names of many plants and, most importantly, floristry dovetailed into her employment goals.

An appropriate course was found which was held one day a week. Despite this being a long day (9am-5.30pm), she decided it was both reasonable and economical to study this way.

Extra supports available at the education institution were explained to her. These included tutorial support and exam modifications. These will assist her at times of absences, fatigue or lapses in concentration.

Her overall Local Area Coordinator (LAC) assistance developed into a three-tiered approach:

  • enrolment in appropriate floristry training
  • volunteer or work experience to support this training
  • aiming for part-time work or a part-time business in floristry.

She would like to set up her own part-time work or business, assisting floristry outlets at peak times of the year.

Margaret may also qualify for the NEIS (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme) scheme, where she would have mentoring and financial support for the initial year of her business.

Mario’s story - How we might provide information and referral

Mario wants information and advice about managing his arthritis. He is having increasing difficulty with fine motor tasks both at home and at work. Mario suspects he may be at risk of losing his job because he is sometimes unable to complete his usual tasks on time, and his boss appears to be getting frustrated with him.

We refer Mario to a local Arthritis support group and to the independent living centre. We also contact JobAccess for details of a nearby Disability Employment Service that can provide Mario with ‘job in jeopardy’ assistance to help him keep his job.

With Mario’s permission, the Disability Employment Service contacts Mario’s employer to provide information on arthritis. The service also works with Mario’s employer to redesign some of his tasks and arranges workplace modifications through JobAccess to enable him to perform other tasks.

Kim’s story - How we might provide support to access community services

Kim is a well-supported 24 year old with Down syndrome who has a job and lots of friends. Kim is interested in joining the local bowls club but none of her friends are interested.

She approaches John, the National Disability Insurance Scheme local area coordinator, who accompanies Kim to the bowls club to help her become a member.

Kim tried to become a member before but was told by a club official that she would need help to join. John talks with officials from the club about what the club can do to take Kim on as a member.

He also arranges for the Down syndrome support group to provide disability awareness training at a club members’ night and afterwards works with some of the club’s long term-members about ways they can support Kim to learn to play bowls.

John also uses some National Disability Insurance Scheme funds to get Easy English versions of the club and game rules.

Sarah’s story - How we might provide a personal plan and supports over a lifetime

Sarah is 24, and was born with cerebral palsy. Prior to her contact with the National Disability Insurance Agency, she had no job or friends. Sarah has limited mobility and uses an electric wheelchair. Her parents provide her with most of her support. She had out-grown her wheelchair, which she had had for over eight years.

After her initial contact, Sarah worked with us to develop an individual plan. She was asked to think about her goals and aspirations, not just her physical needs. Sarah said she wanted to socialise more, and she was really interested in film.

Sarah’s plan identified that she would benefit from physiotherapy and she could have daily in-home assistance with some tasks and help improve her independence. She was provided with funding for a new wheelchair.

The biggest change in Sarah’s life came when we helped her locate a film club and worked with the club to support her involvement. Sarah’s plan also included transport to and from these events.

Hussein’s story - An example of how we might provide early intervention support

Five-year old Hussein has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. His struggle to communicate often leads to vocal outbursts. Hussein’s paediatrician referred the family to us at the National Disability Insurance Agency. Hussein is likely to gain significant benefits from early intervention.

After an assessment, Hussein’s family worked closely with one of our planners to establish an individual plan for Hussein’s care and support. Hussein’s family wants him to have a happy childhood. Their long-term goal is that he is part of their community and as independent as possible.

Hussein’s plan identifies funding for services to improve his learning skills and his emotional and social development before he starts school. Hussein’s mother said she would like help finding services that were sensitive to the family’s cultural needs.

One of our local area coordinators helped the family to choose who they wanted to provide Hussein’s services. The local area coordinator also assisted the family choose the right early learning centre for Hussein which is a mainstream service funded by governments and child care benefit. This assistance also includes connecting the family to a range of other community services and supports.

Don’s story - An example of how we might provide funded supports

Don is 37, and is a paraplegic as the result of a car accident when he was 25. He works full-time as a graphic artist and his support arrangements, which are moderate and managed by his family, have been in place for many years. He is not receiving any formal funded supports. Don’s existing wheelchair is showing signs of significant wear.

After hearing about National Disability Insurance Scheme, Don visits our website and completes the NDIS Access Checklist. He is then prompted to ring us. Don and his wife Marion meet with one of our planners at their home. After confirming that Don is eligible become a participant in the scheme, together we explore his current needs and circumstances. Don and Marion indicate that his only current need is for a new wheelchair.

Don’s support plan is completed and a new wheelchair is identified as a funded support. Don indicates he is able to source and purchase the chair by himself. A review date of 12 months is set. Marion is completing a tertiary education course in that time and both she and Don indicate that his support arrangements may need to be reviewed if Marion returns to work.

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