What is an NDIS plan?
An NDIS plan describes the:
- supports and services in your child’s life
- goals your child wants to work towards or you want your child to work towards
- funding that has been allocated in your child’s plan.
All children with disability or developmental delay need support to grow, develop and thrive, but each child needs specific things to reach their individual goals. This means that you and the NDIS will work together on developing a plan that’s tailored to your child’s individual needs and situation.
The NDIS planning process
The NDIS planning process has several steps:
- An NDIS representative contacts you to arrange a planning conversation.
- You prepare for the planning conversation.
- You have the planning conversation with your NDIS representative.
- Your child’s plan is approved, and you get a copy of the plan.
1. An NDIS representative contacts you
When your child becomes an NDIS participant, an NDIS representative will contact you.
The NDIS representative will arrange a time for a planning conversation, which is a meeting to discuss your child’s NDIS plan. The planning conversation might be face to face, by video chat, or on the phone.
The NDIS representative will tell you:
- how long the planning conversation will last
- what you need to bring to the planning conversation
- what you can do to get ready for the planning conversation.
The NDIS representative will also help you decide whether your child should take part in the planning conversation.
2. You prepare for the NDIS planning conversation
It’s a good idea to do some preparation before the planning conversation. You can get a planning booklet from the NDIS to help. You can fill in the planning booklet before your planning conversation, or your NDIS representative can help you fill it in. If your child is older, your child might fill it in themselves.
First, think about your child’s condition and how it affects their daily life. For example:
- ‘Piper is autistic. She can’t speak, so she gets upset or frustrated when we don’t understand her.’
- ‘Ajay has cerebral palsy. He can walk sometimes although his movements can be quite jerky, especially when he’s tired. He has had several surgeries and needed a wheelchair afterwards.’
Second, think about your child, who they live with, and who’s important to them. For example:
- ‘Piper lives with her mama (Jenny) and mum (Pam) and younger brothers (Brett and Sal). She loves seeing her grandparents most weekends and going to Aunty Rachel’s house.’
- ‘Ajay lives with his dad (Varun) and his older sister (Su). He loves his teachers and his friends at kindergarten.’
Third, think about your child’s daily life, interests and favourite activities. For example:
- ‘Piper goes to school. She loves purple things and likes being outdoors especially when her parents are close by.’
- ‘Ajay goes to kindergarten 3 days a week and playgroup once a week. He has a great sense of humour and is the family joker. He loves cricket.’
Fourth, think about your child’s current supports. These include:
- mainstream health supports – for example, child and family health nurses, GPs, paediatricians and so on
- mainstream education supports – for example, a preschool inclusion subsidy, a teaching aide at school and so on
- community supports – for example, playgroups, library services, church or cultural support groups, sports clubs and so on
- informal supports – for example, the support you give your child, any help you get from grandparent or kinship carers, and so on.
Fifth, think about the supports you and your child might need. For example:
- Do you think your child needs support to communicate, learn, move, play with other children and so on?
- Do you need support for your caring role – for example, respite care?
You can write down all this information, plus any questions, in your child’s planning booklet. It’s a good idea to bring this booklet to the planning conversation.
It can also help to write a carer’s statement. This statement explains how your child’s disability or developmental delay affects you and your family. You can write about your other children, your child’s carers, and your own health, wellbeing, financial circumstances and so on. For example:
- ‘Piper’s mum, Pam, would like to be able to work more. At the moment she works part time so she can care for Piper after school and during holidays.’
- ‘When we go out as a family, we have to make sure Ajay won’t need to walk too far. This can be frustrating for his sister.’
Your child’s goals are a key part of your child’s NDIS plan. Goals are the things your child wants to work towards with NDIS support and other supports and services. At your child’s NDIS planning conversation, you’ll discuss your child’s goals, so it’s a good idea to start thinking about goals before the planning conversation.
3. You have the NDIS planning conversation
The NDIS planning conversation is between you and your child’s NDIS representative.
You should bring:
- the information you’ve prepared, including your NDIS planning booklet and carer statement
- information or reports from your child’s health professionals, therapists or teachers, if you have them
- proof of your identity – for example, a passport and driver licence
- your bank account details if you’re considering self-managing some or all of your child’s NDIS funding
- your myGov log-in and password, if you have a myGov account
- a support person if you want one, like a family member, friend or advocate
- any questions you have about the process.
During the NDIS planning conversation, the NDIS representative will discuss or ask about:
- the information you’ve prepared
- your family routines, the things your child enjoys, and the things your family does together
- your main concerns and the reasons you want support
- your child’s goals
- all the supports and services that can help your child work towards their NDIS goals
- funding for a support coordinator or specialist support coordinator and whether the plan should include this
- options for managing your child’s NDIS funding and which option best suits your family.
At the end of the planning conversation, the NDIS representative will explain what happens next.
During the planning conversation, you can ask for a copy of your child’s plan in various accessible formats. These include Braille, electronic text (on CD), large print or audio (on CD). You can also have the plan translated into your preferred language.
4. Your child’s NDIS plan is approved and you get the plan
Once the NDIA has approved your child’s NDIS plan, you’ll get a copy of the approved plan via the myplace portal within 24 hours. You’ll also get a copy in the mail within 7 days.
If you disagree with the supports funded in your child’s NDIS plan, you can ask for a review.
After the planning meeting: what happens next?
Once your child’s plan is approved, you can start using it. This means you can spend your NDIS funding on the supports set out in your plan.
Your NDIS representative will ask if you want to meet and talk about using your child’s plan. If you want to meet, it will be within 28 days of your child’s plan being approved.
After this, your NDIS representative will regularly check in with you to see how you and your child are going. They’ll ask if the supports in your child’s plan are meeting your child’s needs and if you’re having any problems using your child’s plan.
Most NDIS plans for children go for 12-24 months before they’re reassessed. You’ll be contacted around 3 months before your child’s plan reassessment date to let you know it’s coming up. The plan reassessment is a good chance for you to think about:
- how well the plan is meeting your child’s needs
- whether your child’s situation has changed in the last year.