What is early intervention?
Early intervention means doing things as soon as possible to work on your child’s developmental and support needs.
Starting intervention early is the best way to support the development and wellbeing of children with disability or developmental delay. It can help children develop the skills they need to take part in everyday activities. Sometimes children who get early intervention might not need long-term support.
The NDIS approach to early intervention
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has a national approach to early childhood early intervention (ECEI) that gives children aged 0-6 years quick access to support that’s tailored to their needs.
This support might be information, emotional support or referral to other services like community health services, playgroups or peer support groups. Your child might also get sessions with early childhood early intervention providers in the short term or medium term.
This level of intervention might be all your child needs to reach his developmental goals.
If your child has longer-term support needs, your child might get an individualised NDIS support plan. This helps your child get access to appropriate supports over the long term.
The NDIS also supports children aged seven years and over, but the steps to support are different for children in this age group.
NDIS early intervention support: children aged 0-6 years
Call the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on 1800 800 110 if:
- your child has a disability or developmental delay
- you’re worried about your young child’s development – children aged 0-6 years don’t need a diagnosis of disability.
You might also be referred to the NDIA by your GP, your child and family health nurse, your paediatrician or your child’s preschool or child care educator.
The NDIA’s focus is on providing support straight away. You’ll meet with an NDIS early childhood partner to talk about your worries and your child’s needs and goals.
Depending on your child’s needs, the NDIS early childhood partner might:
- give you information
- refer you to other services like community health services, playgroups or peer support groups
- provide or help you find early childhood early intervention support for your child – for example, a speech pathologist or occupational therapist
- recommend that your child moves quickly to an individualised NDIS plan
- coordinate a combination of the options above.
You don’t have to pay to meet with the NDIS early childhood partner, or for the information, referrals or early intervention support.
When your child needs an individualised NDIS plan
If your child has longer-term support needs, your NDIS early childhood partner can:
- recommend that your child moves quickly to an individualised support plan
- help you request NDIS access.
If your child becomes an NDIS participant, your NDIS early childhood partner will help you develop an individualised NDIS plan for your child and submit it to the NDIA for approval. This plan will outline the support that best meets your child’s needs and goals.
Once the plan is approved, you choose the early childhood early intervention service providers you want to work with. Your NDIS early childhood partner will also help you understand how to find providers, and how to choose providers for NDIS plans.
You don’t have to pay for the early intervention support you get from providers in the plan.
NDIS early intervention support: children aged over 7 years
The NDIS supports early intervention at any stage of life. But children older than seven years need to have a permanent and significant disability to get support.
Call the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on 1800 800 110 if your child has a permanent and significant disability.
Your GP or paediatrician might also refer your child to the NDIA.
The NDIS professional will work with you to develop an individualised NDIS plan that outlines the support that best meets your child’s needs and goals.
The NDIS professional will submit the NDIS plan to the NDIA for approval.
Once the plan is approved, you choose the service providers you want to work with. Your NDIS professional will also help you understand how to find providers, and how to choose providers for NDIS plans.
You don’t have to pay for meeting with the NDIS professional, for the plan or for the support you get from early intervention providers.