The NDIS will be rolling out in many places from July this year and the advice from the trial sites is to start getting ready now. Here are our top ten tips to help you prepare.
1. Start today
Your first NDIS planning meeting could be a pivotal moment in your life and it might be only months away. It’s time to start thinking about how you want to live your life and what you need to achieve your goals.
2. Think big
The NDIS will transform disability services and it’s for life. It’s time to stop worrying about barriers you might have run into in the past and start thinking about the big picture. What do you want to achieve in your life and how do you want to live it? It might take some time get used to the idea that the NDIS could actually change your world. It helps to talk through your goals, aspirations and dreams with people that know you well.
3. Write a list or keep a diary
It’s also important to think about your day-to-day reality. What are the barriers you encounter every day that make life harder than it could be? A good way to monitor this is to start documenting them now. You could write a diary, take photos or keep a list. This will provide concrete examples you can use in your first planning meeting to help you get the most out of your NDIS plan.
4. Be specific
There’s no doubt that the NDIS could be truly transformative — but it’s up to you to make sure you take advantage of it. Try to be as specific as you can about what you need and what you want, what your goals are and how you want to live. Write all of these down and take them along to your first meeting.
5. Learn the language
There’s a whole world of NDIS jargon out there and it’s a good idea to start getting your head around terms like funded supports, planners, centre-based service and support plan. This will help you to better understand the resources that are available and navigate the process.
6. Research, research, research
There’s a reason that the NDIS was rolled out in trial sites first, and that’s so that we can all learn from the experience of others. Try to get as much information in advance — this way you’ll be better prepared to deal with any challenges and also to take full advantage of the opportunities of the NDIS. The Every Australian Counts website is a great place to start.
7. Get the paperwork done early
It’s a good idea to fill in your planning workbook well before you go in for your first meeting. It contains important questions about your life and your future and you don’t want to have to come up with an answer on the spot!
8. Don’t sweat the detail
Have you previously felt pressure to list your needs in a priority order or compare the cost of one service or equipment over another? The NDIS changes all of that because it guarantees you all the reasonable and necessary supports that you need to help reach your goals in life. It’s time to stop worrying about the detail and start re-imagining your future.
9. Get all your documents ready
Before your first meeting get all the documentation you have together so you can streamline the process with your planner. This will help you to explain who you are and what you need. Try to collate all your medical, education and health documents to have it ready.
10. Take someone with you
You don’t have to go this process alone. Take along to your meeting people who know you well. That might be family, friends, support workers or advocates. They’ll help you to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything important and can assist with explaining your situation to your planner.
You can find out more about how the NDIS works, creating your NDIS plan and choosing your support here.