What is early intervention?
Early intervention means doing things as soon as possible to work on your child’s development and support needs.
Early intervention 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 early childhood approach to early intervention
The NDIS early childhood approach is about quick access to early intervention for your child. It ensures that children younger than 7 years who have developmental delay, developmental concerns or disability get quick access to support that’s tailored to their individual needs and circumstances.
Under the NDIS early childhood approach, your child can get support without becoming an NDIS participant. This support might be early connections or early supports.
This program connects your child with support for their development. This support can include information about and contacts for mainstream supports like local community health services, playgroups or peer support groups.
These are therapies and strategies that help your child develop skills to do everyday things like eating, dressing, going to the toilet and so on. Early supports also help you and your family learn how to develop your child’s skills at home and in other everyday environments.
The NDIS early childhood approach can also involve your child becoming an NDIS participant. This happens when your child needs longer-term support, and you need to request NDIS access for your child.
The NDIS also supports children aged 7 years and older, but the steps to support are different for children in this age group.
The supports and services that you’ll get from the NDIS aim to build on your family’s strengths and help you support your child’s development and quality of life. These supports and services will be different for every child because they’re based on your child’s and your family’s individual needs and circumstances.
NDIS early intervention support: children younger than 7 years
Here’s what to do if your child younger than 7 years has a disability or developmental delay. You can also take these steps if you or a health or other professional has concerns about your child’s development. Children younger than 7 years don’t need a diagnosis to get early intervention support from the NDIS early childhood approach.
Step 1: talk to a health professional or the NDIA
You could talk to your GP or child and family health nurse or another health professional. They’ll help you work out what supports you and your child might need. They also might put you in touch with an NDIS representative called an early childhood partner.
Or you can call the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on 1800 800 110. The NDIA can give you contact details for local early childhood partners, or they might organise for one to call you.
Step 2: meet with an early childhood partner
You meet with the early childhood partner to talk about your child’s and family’s needs and goals. Depending on your child’s needs, the early childhood partner might:
- give you information about mainstream supports and services for your child
- connect you and your child with supports in your area, like community health services, playgroups or peer support groups
- provide early intervention support
- help you to request access to the NDIS if your child needs longer-term support and is likely to be eligible for the NDIS
- coordinate a combination of the options above.
You don’t have to pay to meet with the early childhood partner or for the information, referrals or early intervention support the early childhood partner provides.
When your child needs an NDIS plan
If your child has longer-term support needs and is likely to be eligible for the NDIS, your early childhood partner can help you to request NDIS access.
If your child becomes an NDIS participant, your early childhood partner will work with your family to develop an NDIS plan that supports your child’s goals.
Once your child’s NDIS plan is approved, your early childhood partner will explain your child’s NDIS plan and NDIS support budgets. They’ll also help you understand how to find and choose providers for NDIS plans.
Early intervention helps your child most when your child gets therapies and supports in their everyday environments – for example, at home, child care, preschool or playgroup.
NDIS early intervention support: children 7 years and older
The NDIS supports early intervention at any stage of life. But children aged 7 years and older need to have a permanent or likely permanent and significant disability to get support.
Call the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on 1800 800 110 if your child has a permanent or likely permanent and significant disability.
Your NDIA planner or LAC will work with you to develop an NDIS plan that outlines the support that best meets your child’s needs and goals.
The NDIA planner or LAC 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 representative will help you understand how to find and choose service providers for NDIS plans.
You don’t have to pay for the meeting with the LAC or NDIA planner or for the plan.