Professor Jacqueline Roberts (Autism Centre of Excellence, Griffith University): When parents are selecting an early intervention service, they need to make sure that the service is able to provide an individual program for their child.
Maryanne Diamond (General Manager, Media, Communications and Engagement, NDIS): The access partners that are in place, and they’re usually in the community, can assist parents in determining what supports they need and where they might get them from, so parents aren’t left alone to go out and look for a service provider themselves. Because my experience was that you don’t even know where to start looking often.
Kate Hanley (NDIS early childhood access partner): An access partner can help a parent choose a provider in a few different ways. Firstly, we can help by talking about what makes a good service, what a good service provider looks like, the right questions to ask when you meet with that service provider, who’s in the area, what’s available. We can also provide direct support to perhaps go with that family to talk to different service providers, or call on the family’s behalf to find out information for the family, so we can offer that really practical support as well.
Professor Roberts: The second key thing that parents need to keep in mind when selecting an early intervention service is the importance of the evidence for the particular strategies or interventions that are being proposed. It’s really important that we look to see if there is research evidence to show that the intervention is effective. A good service provider will focus on a child’s strengths as well as their needs and challenges, and look at ways to maximise their participation and their engagement with their world.
Kate Hanley: Giving advice to a family about finding the right service provider, I think it’s really important to stress that they have that choice now, so it’s OK if they’re not happy with a provider or they don’t feel like it’s the best thing. It’s really important that we empower families to look around and find that best fit for them. If you don’t feel that fits with you, your family and your child, that’s OK and it’s important that you find something that is your fit.
Lee-Anne (mother of Oliver, 2½ years): Use your key worker. Don’t be afraid to talk to them and ask them – ask simple questions, ask complex questions.
Maryanne Diamond: The most important thing I look for in a service provider is someone who listens; someone who listens to me and my child about what works for us, what doesn’t work for us, and what we set as our goals and aspirations.
Professor Roberts: A good service provider sees the child first and not the disability.