Words Amanda Murthy and Identitywa
By 30 June 2020, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is expected to provide support to more than 460,000 Australians under the age of 65 with a permanent and significant disability, their families and carers.
Implemented by Commonwealth agency, National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the Scheme was first introduced through a number of trial sites around Australia from July 2013. Following the successful trial, the NDIS commenced a staged national rollout on 1 July 2016.
Since its inception, the NDIA has also been providing information on supports and services available in local communities in the form of sporting clubs, support groups, community and educational facilities, as well as information about what state and territory government mainstream supports are available to people with disability.
Following a trial in Western Australia of two NDIS models, in April 2018, the WA Government agreed to join the nationally administered Scheme. All people who have been accessing State government funded and provided specialist disability services are expected to have transitioned to the NDIS by 30 June 2020.
This May, the NDIA took another big step when they partnered with three providers to deliver local area coordination services to WA participants. These agencies are Mission Australia, APM and for children under 7 years of age, Wanslea Family Services.
The Kimberley and Pilbara, Midwest-Gascoyne, Outer Wheatbelt and Goldfields-Esperance areas of WA do not have partnership arrangements in place. The NDIA will continue to assist and connect participants in these areas to supports and services in their local communities.
Identitywa is one of WA’s largest disability support providers. Chief Executive Officer, Marina Re, spoke to The Record sharing her thoughts on why collaboration is key in expanding the great opportunities that the NDIS offers.
“Working in partnership with individuals and families is at the centre of what we do. The NDIS gives us the impetus to think outside the square and work in new ways, therefore our strong emphasis on co-design and being responsive to what people tell us they want now and for their future, facilitates the development of more innovative options,” she stated.
“Developing an individualised plan has really enabled people to access the services most important and relevant to them.”
Marina added that Identitywa’s goal going forward is to maintain their existing high-quality services while embracing innovation and enabling scalability to meet the future demand.
“We have therefore sought to build partnerships with universities and industry to ensure we are in the best position to grow our agency and our positive impact in the community,” she concluded.
Parents happy their son is achieving greater independence with NDIS support
Swimming, relaxing walks, ball games and outings in his community are just some of the activities 29-year-old Alex can do in his week.
Over the past two years, Alex’s life has changed significantly as he moved out of his family home for the first time and now lives in one of Identitywa’s shared houses – achieving a level of independence his parents, Andrew and Sue, had hoped he would one day.
“It is very clear that he loves his new life because whenever we take him out, which is quite regularly, he absolutely can’t wait to get back!” says Sue. “It is really fantastic to see him so happy and comfortable with his housemates and the wonderful staff who support him.”
For Andrew and Sue, the search for the right support provider was literally quite life-changing.
“We moved to Western Australia from the Northern Territory because WA offered high quality disability support and funding,” explains Sue.
“You could say we shopped around and were delighted we found Identitywa.”
The Identitywa Planning Officer, people close to the family, including Alex’s godparents and grandmother, founded Team Alex in early 2017. Team Alex supported Andrew and Sue to develop a plan for Alex’s future.
Team Alex met with the NDIS planner in April 2017 to discuss Alex’s individual needs and his future goals.
“It was quite funny at the first meeting as they had to arrange for a bigger meeting room to accommodate us all. We definitely needed the support of those who new Alex best as we wanted to make sure we covered all his individual needs in the NDIS plan,” explains Sue.
Andrew and Sue say they are delighted with how the initial meeting went and all the following meetings over the past two years which have been to review Alex’s plan.
“Our experience with the NDIS has been extremely positive and we are very pleased with all that has transpired. It has been a wonderful outcome for all our family,” said Andrew.
“Alex is really happy in his new home and, as his parents, we couldn’t ask for more!”
For more information on NDIS go to: www.ndis.gov.au
From pages 24 to 25 of Issue 20: ‘Wellbeing: Building stronger communities that flourish as a whole’ of The Record Magazine