NDIS and Me banner. DSWA logo and text 'keeping you up to date with the NDIS in WA' on the left and head and shoulders photo of a smiling man with Down syndrome at an airfield wearing a cap with wording 'Skipper' on and a yellow, uninflated life jacket.

NDIS in WA Latest News

April 2018 – Transfer from WA NDIS to NDIS has begun!

 Are you in the WA NDIS?

If you/your child are a participant in any of the WA NDIS areas, you will be transferred across to the NDIS this year – sometime between April and December. This is basically a bureaucratic transfer of information being carried out between the state and commonwealth. The NDIS website says the WA government will contact people in WA NDIS to advise them of the next steps they will need to take. The transfer is being carried out in phases so your plan could be, for example, transferred in December, and you may not hear anything for a while. If you are in WA NDIS and your plan is due for review, or you have any queries about your current plan, contact the WA NDIS LC until you have been transferred to the national scheme.

Already in NDIS?

If you/your child are already an NDIS participant, nothing changes. Current plans stay the same, and your upcoming plan review will go ahead with the NDIS. This applies to people already in the national scheme in the following shires: Bassendean, Bayswater, Kalamunda, Mundaring, Swan, Chittering, Northam, Toodyay, York.

*If you are in these shires but were joined up to the WA NDIS scheme last year, you will be transferred across to the NDIS as per people in other WA NDIS areas above.

Roll out to new areas

From 1 July 2018, the National Disability Insurance Agency will be responsible for delivering the NDIS in WA. The NDIS will continue to roll out on a geographic basis and will be fully rolled out across Western Australia by 2020.

Remember, each of the following dates is when rollout begins in an area, not when everyone is suddenly in the scheme. All new people will need to go through the scheme access and planning processes which takes some time given the huge numbers of people.

The NDIS says:
“People currently receiving disability services from the Western Australian Government or other Commonwealth programs will transition to the NDIS at different times, depending on where they live the type of support they are receiving. The NDIA will contact people currently receiving disability services when it is their time to transition. Existing Commonwealth and State based supports will continue until you are covered by the NDIS.

All people currently receiving disability support from the Western Australian Government will transition to the NDIS by July 2020.”

For people with Down syndrome, this should mean a smooth entry into the NDIS. If you are linked with an LAC, and/or get state government funding or funded services eg CAP, ATE, or if you get Commonwealth funded services such as Better Start, or ADE supported employment funding, then there shouldn’t be any issues in establishing eligibility for the NDIS. A person who has been receiving any of these funds or services is said to be ‘defined’ as eligible for NDIS.

However, as with any huge change such as this, some people may not have such a smooth experience. If you do have problems with eligibility to access the NDIS, please let us know. We may be able to help directly or refer you to a free advocacy service with expertise in this area. Knowing if people are having problems like this helps Down Syndrome Australia with its ongoing advocacy re the NDIS.

Here is the link to all the information about the geographic rollout, including a video, lists of local government areas and maps: https://www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/our-sites/WA/rollout.html

A map of the NDIS rollout locations in the Perth metropolitan area

Here are the key rollout dates for different areas across WA:

1 July 2018

The NDIS will begin to be available to new participants in the remaining Wheatbelt shires and to remaining Central South Metro regions – the local government areas of East Fremantle, Fremantle, Melville and South Perth.

1 October 2018

The NDIS will begin to be available in the Goldfields-Esperance regions, North Metro regions of Wanneroo and Joondalup and to the remaining shires in the South West region – Bunbury, Capel, Collie, Dardanup, Harvey and Waroona.

1 July 2019

The NDIS will begin to be available in the Midwest Gascoyne, Great Southern, Central North Metro and South East Metro regions – all the remaining metropolitan local government areas.

1 July 2020

The NDIS will begin to be available in Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Changes to improve the NDIS under way

When the NDIS was first being set up, its CEO said that as the scheme grew it would learn from experiences and use them to build a better scheme. There’s no doubt that there have been many less than positive NDIS experiences for some people and some massive problems such as the new IT system that didn’t work, and some critics have likened the scheme to a plane being built while in flight. However, true to its early commitment, the NDIS is working hard to improve how it works. It has listened to criticism and feedback from people with disability and their families and from providers, and is making some important changes. Here are some of the key changes currently being developed and trialed.

Participant Pathway & Useful ‘Tools’

The Participant Pathway includes how you first connect with and access the NDIS, the planning process, putting your plan into action and reviewing and renewing your plan.

Many people said they were having problems with their experiences at various points along this ‘pathway’. The NDIS held workshops and gathered feedback in other ways to work out what the problems were and how to improve the Participant Pathway so that people had better experiences and outcomes.

The consultations showed that feedback tended to follow several themes, so they worked out how they could improve each of these areas. Here are the themes along with the things the NDIS is working on, to improve people’s experiences related to that theme.

Feedback theme: Engage participants in developing their plans, and make sure they reflect individual needs

  • Plan development will be conducted in face-to-face meetings between the participant, their designated LAC and Agency planner;
  • Participants will discuss their plan as it is being developed and have the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback during the planning meeting, to allow for any queries to be addressed before the plan is finalised; and
  • The plan document will be revamped to be clearer and more directly reflect a participant’s individual needs. The revamped plan document will be tested and refined as part of the initial pilot.

* They say people will be able to see a ‘working document’ and a draft plan before it is finalised.

Feedback theme: Make experiences consistent and limit handoffs

  • Participants will be matched to a LAC during the access process and this person will become their consistent point of contact throughout the process, including during and after planning;
  • Plan development will happen side by side with the participant, rather than at a distance from them; and
  • Revamped training for all NDIS representatives will ensure consistency in approach.

Feedback theme: Build trust-based relationships and limit phone interactions

  • Major interactions, including preparation for access and plan development, will be conducted face-to-face by default, with phone or other channels only being used because of the participant’s preference. This has already been implemented;
  • Improved systems and tools for planning, will support NDIS representatives in building relationships with participants and having natural conversations; and
  • More personalised and customised interactions, including reflecting the participant’s individual circumstances in the questions asked, will occur during planning.

Feedback theme: Ensure staff are prepared for participantsunique situations and disabilities

  • Changes to the planning approach to better focus on the needs of the participant, with a focus on empathetic listening;
  • Improved tools for access, functional assessment and planning, specific to individuals’ disabilities. This includes greater customisation of questions asked during planning; and
  • Improved training for all staff to support development of more specialised understanding of disability types, and better matching of planners and LACs to participants.

Feedback theme: Communicate clearly and tailor messaging to participants

  • Increased availability of communications materials, including the plan document and letter, in accessible formats;
  • Communications preferences will be captured early in the pathway and used in subsequent interactions;
  • More use of checklists and factsheets in place of long narratives; and
  • A revamped website with separate messaging targeted at participants and providers.

Feedback theme: Increase focus on supports from the community and other government supports

  • An explicit focus in NDIS communications about the role of the NDIS in the disability system, in supporting people with significant and permanent disability whose needs cannot be met by community and other government supports;
  • Increased connections to community and other government supports at multiple points in the process, including before access and at plan development; and
  • Improved connections to forms of peer support, including through disability organisations.

Feedback theme: Engage participants about the Scheme objectives and roles from the outset

  • Increased communication about the role of the NDIS as an insurance scheme;
  • Greater focus on outcomes and setting goals as part of early engagement, and in preparation for plan development;
  • Clearly defined roles for LACs and Agency planners, including making it clear that under the NDIS Act all plan decisions had to be made by a NDIA staff member; and
  • Improved information about the role and function of the support coordinator, if one was required.

Feedback theme: Make systems and interactions smooth and simple

  • An improved, more user-friendly portal for participants which contains the features they need to understand and manage their plans;
  • Improved resources to help participants use NDIS systems; and
  • Improved tools for NDIS representatives, so that they are better able to assist participants with their challenges.

Here is the link to the full report: https://www.ndis.gov.au/medias/documents/pathway-review-report/Report-NDIS-Pathway-Review.pdf

Some of the new ‘tools’ being developed and trialed are a new NDIS Pre-planning workbook, and a Provider Finder – an online tool to help people find providers for different kinds of services in their area.

The NDIS is currently trialing these improvements in two areas of Melbourne, will keep refining them based on feedback and when successful will roll them out nationally.

NDIS improvements regarding pricing

 The NDIS has also been responding to feedback on pricing (from participants and providers), by having an independent Pricing Review and making some other changes to help with sustaining organisations while the disability system changes to the NDIS. This is important as we need to have a good range of service providers to meet people’s needs and offer choice of who you can get your supports from. The recommendations of the Pricing Review were accepted and will be incorporated into the NDIS price guides. You can see these online, so you know what the prices are for different kinds of services and circumstances. The NDIS puts all its information online so that participants have all the information they need to be in control of their plans and supports.

Here is the link to the Pricing Review information: https://www.ndis.gov.au/news/ipr-update-5apr.html

Down Syndrome Australia NDIS Survey

Close-up image of a survey form. The phrases "Strongly agree", "Agree" and "Disagree" can be seen, with boxes next to them. The "Agree" box contains a green tick.

Down Syndrome Australia is involved in ongoing advocacy regarding the NDIS. DSWA and other states pass on concerns from people with Down syndrome and their families, and our national CEO makes sure these issues are discussed at meetings with the NDIA.

So while it’s great to see the NDIS making significant changes, we know that we need to keep feeding back the issues and experiences of the Australian Down syndrome community, to make sure the scheme continues to improve and get better at understanding and meeting the needs of participants with Down syndrome.

DSA has drafted a survey that will soon be going out to people across Australia. We will email it and post on social media. Please take a few minutes to fill it in so that we know if the NDIS is meeting people’s needs and can hear about the problems people may be having. We also want to hear about your positive experiences, so that NDIS knows when and how it is getting it right, and also to help other people looking for ideas on how to use the NDIS.

DSWA is an NDIS provider

We are now fully registered as a provider, and we’re developing the kinds of supports we can offer to people with Down syndrome.  We will be putting together some information and will let you know as soon as possible. If you have a planning meeting or plan review coming up soon, and you’d like to include some DSWA supports, get in touch and we can let you know what kinds of things you could consider – both provided by DSWA and other supports from other kinds of providers.

DSWA pre-planning and self-management resources and workshops

The cover of the NDIS and Me: Steps to Plan in WA workbook. A photo of a young man with Down syndrome holding a baby sits above the workbook title and the DSWA logo.

Steps to Plan Workbook

We have updated the DSWA Steps to Plan Workbook and you can download it free from our website. It is available in PDF or in Word. It is designed to help you start from scratch in getting plan ready. You can write your information in the workbook, and develop, step-by-step, the goals you want in your NDIS plan.  This means you have all your information ready when you go for your planning meeting or plan review meeting.

Life Stage Fact Sheets

We’ve also written some handy downloadable fact sheets for people with Down syndrome at different life stages. These give you an idea of the kinds of goals and supports that might be seen as appropriate and reasonable for a person with Down syndrome at a certain stage of life. Of course, they are just examples, but they are useful for generating ideas and wording your goals.

We will put new resources up as we develop them as well as links to other useful resources from elsewhere.

You can download both the workbook and factsheets here:  http://www.dsawa.asn.au/information/ndis/

DSWA NDIS Workshops

 Throughout 2017 and early 2018, DSWA staff have been running NDIS workshops on pre-planning, self-management and “Ask Us Anything”!  We are holding these in various locations according to when the NDIS is being rolled out.

*Please note that we have very limited funds to cover the costs of these sessions, so we can’t run them in every local government area or suburb, but we are trying to cover the region. We are running them on Saturday afternoons so that more people can come to them. Where possible, we are holding two in each region, a few weeks apart, but we won’t be able to run extra sessions after that (unless we get more funding).

If you can’t make it to a session near you, but you’d like to have a chat and ask some questions, we are really happy to have an individual discussion on the phone, or you can make a time to come into the DSWA office for an individual session – or if there’s a couple or a few people, we could do a small group session. Let us know – we want to help you be NDIS ready, but we operate on a shoe string!

Here are the sessions coming up over the next few months:

Location                                        Date

Wanneroo                                          7 April

*Bunbury                                            12 May

Melville                                               9 June

**Albany                                            19 June

Wanneroo                                          21 July

*Bunbury – We will be running our NDIS info session but there will also be other peer support organisations running info sessions on various aspects of the NDIS the day (also relevant to people with Down syndrome/families), so you might like to come along to those too.

**Albany – We will be in Albany as part of an Expo on that day, working with other organisations to bring you the latest NDIS and other relevant information. We will also make time to catch up with the Albany Down syndrome community while we are in town – look forward to seeing you again.

We’ll send out detailed info on these regional events as soon as it’s available.

We are looking at holding some NDIS info sessions at DSWA Playgroups too – dates to be arranged.

Please make sure to RSVP – either via Facebook or to admin@downsyndrome.wa.org.au

Other areas

Kalgoorlie – we were planning to visit, but we know there are other organisations running similar in Kal, so can’t justify the cost. We suggest you go to those, but do download the Down syndrome workbook and fact sheets, and phone or email if you’d like some individual support or information.

If you’re in a remote or any other roll out area, and can’t make it to any of the workshops, let us know, and we can make other arrangements, such as phone or Skype.

DSWA Local Support Groups

A close-up photograph of a cup of coffee held between two hands

We’ve also been holding coffee mornings in areas already covered by NDIS or WA NDIS for some time now. These are great ways to catch up with how everyone is going, share info and ideas, do some troubleshooting and get to know other people in your area. DSWA staff bring along the latest info, and enjoy holding the babies and catching up with everyone else!

If you are interested in linking up with a group near you, give us a call on 9368 4002 or email admin@downsyndromewa.org.au

Places to find NDIS Information

As well as DSWA’s public Facebook page and Twitter, the DSWA Support Network Facebook Group and Down Syndrome Australia’s Facebook page and Twitter, there are a number of Facebook forums more specifically focused on the NDIS. It’s a good idea to join or follow these if you want to keep a close eye on what is happening, ask questions about the NDIS and discuss issues with others. Here are some that we think you may find useful.

Disability Loop

We really like Disability Loop; there’s so much information and some great resources, some written and some videos, and they are all produced in plain language so they are easier to understand. Check it out here: https://www.disabilityloop.org.au/resources.html

Here is the Disability Loop Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/disabilityloop

The Growing Space

Sam Paior is an independent Support Coordinator in South Australia and also a parent of a son with Down syndrome. While some information on her website is focused on SA, most of it is relevant across the country. She knows from experience what the key questions and issues are and provides very practical, easy to understand information, advice and tips in her blogs and Facebook page. http://www.thegrowingspace.com.au

https://www.facebook.com/TheGrowingSpaceAustralia/

Image description: NDIS and Me Facebook Group banner. Logos of state and territory Down syndrome associations on the left and head and shoulders photo of a smiling man with Down syndrome at an airfield wearing a cap with wording 'Skipper' on and a yellow, uninflated life jacket.

NDIS and Me

A closed* Facebook group with over 500 members, for Australians with Down syndrome and their families. The group, which is run by DSWA, aims to help its members to get ready and get the best outcomes they can from the NDIS. There is discussion about what is happening in all states so this can be a useful way of sharing questions and experiences within the national and local Down syndrome community. We will post this eNews to NDIS and Me and to the DSWA Support Network group. http://www.facebook.com/groups/NDISandMe/

WA NDIS

This open Facebook page is run by DSC and states that it is “Your official source of information about the WA NDIS”. https://www.facebook.com/TheWANDIS/

NDIS in WA Peer Support

A closed* Facebook group, with over 1400 members, for people with disability and families living in WA in either NDIS or WA NDIS areas (but you can also join if you are in other areas in WA). A useful group for information and discussion. https://www.facebook.com/groups/ndisinwa/

*You need to request to join closed groups. The admins will check that you are eligible before allowing you in.

NoDisadvantage

An open Facebook page with over 700 followers, run by disabled people and family members that says: We want the WA State Government to guarantee that West Australians with disability will not be worse off than other Australians under a WA NDIS. This is useful for the latest information about what is happening, lively and critical discussion and analysis of events, policy, scheme design as well as information on advocacy and activist events for the #NoDisadvantage Campaign. https://www.facebook.com/nodisadvantage/

Image description: Profile picture of NoDisadvantage campaign. A purple filled square with white text saying 'A guarantee of no disadvantage for West Australians with a disability', followed by #nodisadvantage in mix of white and blue text.

 

Other useful social media

There are lots of Facebook groups and pages on the NDIS and WA NDIS. If there are any that you find useful, please let us know.

As with all online content, please be aware that information may not be correct, so please do check before making any decisions or taking any action based on the information.