Alima’s story of NDIS support
Three-year-old Alima* has significant delays in the development of her communication, physical and social skills. Alima and her family have been getting services from a child and family health nurse and a paediatrician since she was a baby.
Alima can’t walk. She gets around by rolling across the floor or by using her elbows to pull herself along. She can’t speak, so she can’t tell her parents when she’s hungry or wants to play with her toys. Alima’s family find it hard to know what she wants. They don’t know what to do to help her development.
It’s frustrating for Alima too, who often screams for long periods during the day and night. She spends most of her time at home with her mother, who is her primary carer. It’s too hard for Alima’s mother to manage family outings because Alima needs such a high level of care.
Alima’s paediatrician suggests the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) might be able to help Alima and her parents. The paediatrician puts them in touch with their local early childhood partner.
Alima’s parents meet with the early childhood partner. They talk about the family’s goals for Alima, which are:
- helping Alima communicate her needs and choices
- decreasing Alima’s screaming episodes
- developing a sleep routine
- developing Alima’s ability to do things like hold a spoon by herself
- improving Alima’s ability to get around her home and community.
They also talk about the support that Alima and her family need to work towards these goals.
The early childhood partner advises Alima’s parents that Alima would benefit from longer-term support to work towards her goals. This could include funding for early intervention. This is specialised supports and therapies to help Alima develop communication, self-care and other skills.
The early childhood partner also suggests that community support might help Alima’s family. The early childhood partner puts the family in touch with a local peer support group for families with children with development delay and also finds them a supported educational playgroup.
Because Alima needs longer-term support, the early childhood partner helps Alima’s family to apply to the NDIS. Alima becomes an NDIS participant, and Alima’s family and the early childhood partner develop an NDIS plan.
Alima’s NDIS plan includes funding for:
- early intervention to help Alima build skills
- equipment like special seating, a standing frame or a wheelchair.
The early childhood partner submits the plan to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) for approval, and the NDIA approves it.
Now that Alima is an NDIS participant, she and her family will meet with the early childhood partner every 12 months or so to reassess the plan. This ensures that the support they’re getting is still meeting Alima’s needs and helping Alima and her family work towards her goals.
Under the NDIS, Alima and her family got funding for a long-term, family-centred, coordinated approach to supporting Alima’s development. The early childhood partner helped Alima’s family to connect with local services and supports. They also quickly identified that Alima needed longer-term support and worked with the family to develop an NDIS plan for Alima.
*This is not the child’s real name.