Applying for the NDIS
Deaf Children Australia is a nationally registered NDIS provider and our staff can help you and your child make accessing the NDIS scheme as seamless as possible. We will always place children and young people at the centre of everything we do.
We can assist you to:
- Identify what services and supports could help your child reach their goals and aspirations and help build a plan for their future
- Guide you through the NDIS application process
- Gather relevant documentation to support your application
You can nominate DCA as your service provider. The best time to talk with DCA is before your NDIS planning meeting. Or if your child is already registered, before a review of your existing plan.
DCA NDIS Planning Work book
DCA have produced a work book that helps you with identifying your needs, setting goals, preparing your evidence and writing about your informal and formal supports.
Click here to access the work book.
NDIS Participant Booklets
NDIS have produced participant booklets covering Understanding the NDIS, Planning and Using your NDIS Plan. You can download them from the website:
Deaf Children Australia has already been providing NDIS services to children, young people and their families.
To find out what NDIS service DCA provides click here
When preparing for your planning meeting it can be helpful to understand some of the language that is used by the NDIA and can be found in the NDIS Act 2013. Section 34 is a key part of the Act and is used to decide if the supports you are asking for are reasonable and necessary.
What does this mean?
Let’s go through each section and have a look at how you can use the information in the Act to help you prepare your goals and support requests.
Section 34.1 A Supports you ask for must relate to your current goals and aspirations.
Everything you ask for must link directly back to your goals. For example, you may want to attend a sports club, which is local to you and you would like to ask for communication support. This would link to a goal about being able to attend and participate in local supports independently.
Another point to include here is ongoing assessment of review for therapies you request. So for example, if you wish to access speech therapy, your goal should include provision to reassess and review before your next plan is made. This means that you will request funding for a review and report, which will help you to access the same therapy services in your next plan.
Section 34.1B Supports you ask for must facilitate social and economic participation.
This means that the supports that you have requested will work towards achieving the goal of being independent, being able to be socially engaged and if possible, get a job.
For younger clients, this may not seem relevant but remember that the NDIS is a long-term funding model. So working towards independence can come under this section.
For example, you may request support for you to access the community in which you live independently. You could ask for a support worker to accompany you to the local park or play area on the weekend.
You could also ask for a specific support worker to be with you at home to enable you to be independent on some of the evenings or weekends.
Section 34.1 C Supports you ask for must represent value for money.
To satisfy this criteria, it would help you to get quotes for pieces of technology you request and information about the specifications about particular items you have asked for. These do not need to be highly detailed or lengthy. They just need to show that they are the best fit for your needs.
Section 34.1 D Supports you ask for must be shown to be effective and represent current best practice.
This means there is evidence which supports you asking for a particular support service or piece of equipment. For example, if you use Auslan as your first language, your family may request funding to support the whole family having access to Auslan tutoring.
To show this request meets the criteria you could:
1. Collect research articles that show the importance of Auslan training for the family to support communication needs.
2. Find evidence of this way of working having been effective for you in the past
Or 3. Collect letters or reports from your speech therapist or other allied health professionals supporting your request.
Allied health professionals include doctors, specialists, speech therapists and other therapists.
Section 34.1 E Supports you ask for extra to the supports family or a participant would expect to find themselves.
This criteria is about the age and stage of the participant. For example, if you request communication support to be able to attend the local youth club, this may be seen as something that a family would not need to do for a hearing teenager who should be able to attend and participate in local clubs and activities themselves without a family member coming along to support them with communication. If you are older, support to attend clinics and appointments independently of family members would be another example of reasonable and necessary support.
Section 34.1 F Supports you ask for must not be something that another mainstream service would be expected to provide.
To meet this criteria, you need to show that the support you are asking for is not something that other services should routinely provide. Two key service providers here are health and education. So for example, if you are asking for interpreters at school, the NDIS may ask why the Department of Education is not providing this support. If you are asking for interpreters during hospital procedures such as surgery, the NDIS may ask whether this could be funded under the health service.
However, if you are asking for an interpreter to allow access to community care based psychology support, you may need to show that other funding options have not been available.
To determine whether you or child is eligible for the NDIS, it is vital for you to provide evidence such as professional documentation outlining the disability and how it impacts on you or your child’s life. Insufficient or unclear documentation can delay your application. Or without any evidence, NDIA may not approve your application for NDIS funding or early intervention.
NDIA recommends good and strong evidence documentation needs to be recent, completed by a treating health professional who is relevant to your primary disability, confirms your primary disability, confirms the impacts of your disability on the different areas of your life, describes previous treatments and outcomes, and describes future treatment options and expected outcomes of those treatments if appropriate. Evidence can consist of reports, previous support plans, assessments and any other documentation which demonstrates yours or your child’s needs. You may also have evidence of strategies which have been put in place, or progress which has occurred.
For example, you may include the following evidence:
An audiogram is imperative, assessment reports from assistive technology providers, Client support plan, health support plan, individual education plan. Therapy assessments from psychologists, physiotherapists, speech therapists or occupational therapists, a letter from a doctor or paediatrician, information from kindergarten, school or childcare, behaviour management plan, lifestyle plan, recreational program information, information from service providers, a Carers Statement, which you can refer to in the DCA NDIS workbook and any other evidence you feel would be helpful.
Shortly, I am about to show you a mock therapy assessment by an occupational therapist. Keep in mind, not all assessments are exactly the same. However, the content should be the same. It is important for you to understand and ensure the language in all supporting documents is written appropriately to match NDIS evidence criteria and NDIA language. You need to look for client details, type of disability, assessment report, summary from the allied health professional and recommendations for therapies and support.
Click here if you want a copy of a mock assessment to help you with checking your supporting documentation.
The Carers Statement
Often when parents and guardians think of the NDIS, they think about the person with the disability and his or her needs. Parents and guardians forget to think of themselves as carers or informal supports, and what their own needs are. Yes, it is expected for the parents and guardians to provide reasonable care for their child with a disability. However, carers are not expected to provide care and supervision 24/7. The NDIS provides an opportunity for carers to access paid support to allow for the carers to have a break and an opportunity for the person with a disability to learn to not be so reliant on their parent or unpaid carer, and allow them to flourish independently.
If you feel this is something you and/ or your child would benefit from, you have the option to submit a Carers Statement and/ or request a separate interview or planning meeting to support your child.
For more details, refer to the DCA NDIS Workbook Carers Statement.
Every NDIS plan is based around a set of participant goals which are two or three main goals a participant wants to achieve based on the needs identified in each domain as discussed in the previous video.
Most NDIS plans will have two types of main goals. Two or three short term goals for the duration of the plan usually twelve months and two or three long term goals over the next five years. These goals will be set with your NDIS planner in your first planning meeting.
NDIS funding is based around these goals and requested supports and services are viewed and recorded in relation to how they help you achieve them. So it’s a good idea to have practised and prepared some example goals before your first NDIS planning meeting. It’s also a good idea to think about how each support and service you would like NDIS to fund can be linked to your goals and how they are reasonable and necessary to achieving them.
The best way to prove that services and supports are reasonable and necessary is to back them up with plenty of relevant evidence and documentation. This is discussed further in the evidence video.
When practising your sample goals prior to your first NDIS planning meeting it’s a good idea not to make them too specific and to keep them general so that they can be applied to a range of supports and services.
The goals will also need to be directly related to your needs in relation to your disability condition or functional impairment. This is one example of a well-structured goal:
To increase inclusiveness in family and social relationships in the community.
You can see that this is a very general goal which could include a range of supports and services around the theme of inclusiveness such as, interpreters and captioning for specific events and activities, deaf awareness training, Auslan training and tutoring sessions for the family, a support worker to assist with access to the community and increased confidence, community and recreation events such as camps for deaf and hard of hearing young people.
Some evidence which may be used in relation to this goal may include audiology or speech pathology reports, school or psychological reports relating to your social development and inclusion, information to the extent to which schools and community groups are inclusive, pier reviewed research explaining the importance of access to Auslan for social development.
Here is a second example of a well-structured goal:
To increased independence, self-reliance and confidence in daily tasks and activities.
This kind of goal around the theme of independence can again include a range of supports and services such as aids and equipment, allied health sessions, a support worker to gain independent skills in the community and at home, travel training and adult skills development, work experience and employment training, psychology or counselling session to support increased confidence and self-esteem and any other supports relevant to independence which might relate to other complex needs.
Some evidence which could be used to support you in achieving these goals might include, audiology reports, allied health reports such as speech pathology, occupational therapy, physio therapy. Reports or support letters from psychologist or counsellor, relevant school reports, research relating to common challenges and barriers faced by deaf and hard of hearing children and young people in developing independence and resilience and how to overcome them.
You can practise writing out some sample NDIS goals and linking them to relevant reports in the Deaf Children Australia’s NDIS planning workbook.
Deaf Children Australia can also be contacted to provide additional support with NDIS pre-planning.
Being prepared for your planning meeting will help you to feel confident in the meeting and assist with developing a NDIS plan that accurately reflects your needs.
The NDIS planner will ask you questions about the following areas. If possible, have quotes for what services you may need for the planning meeting. Although you can provide quotes later.
Where do you live and who do you live with? What type of house do you live in? For example, is it an apartment, house, unit or bungalow? Is there anything you would like to change about where you live now? Are the safety features such as smoke detectors and doorbell alarms accessible? That will give them a clearer picture for you.
Who are the most important people in your life? For example, they could be family, friends and other people who care for you. Are there people that support you in everyday life? For example, Auslan interpreters, note takers, support workers, mentors, friends, carers, teachers or case managers.
What services do you currently use? You may have access to your health service such as an audiologist or other services you may currently use are disability services or allied health such as a psychologist.
What services would you like to use? Think about other services that you may have not been able to access but you would benefit from. These could be Auslan in the home, deaf awareness training, youth mentoring, support coordination and NDIS plan management.
Do you use assistive equipment in your daily life? What equipment do you use regularly? What equipment would you like to use? These could be visual alerts for smoke alarms and a doorbell or personal alarm for safety protection when walking solo.
The planner will want to know your current day to day activities. Here are some examples. School, sports training and competitions or matches, church, or music lessons.
If there are activities that you would like to do but have not been able to do for whatever reason that is disability related, write down the activities you would like to do.
What funding supports you would need to remove the barriers, plus what support the young person needs. This could be Auslan interpreters, support workers or Deaf Awareness Training.
What are your main activities – like creating art at home? What would you like to do differently, maybe participate in community art activities?
What barriers would you like to overcome? Such as being able to participate in community workshops or accessing Auslan interpreters.
What transport do you use? Do you use taxis, taxi vouchers or a modified vehicle? What would you like to use in the next twelve months?
Would you like driving lessons with an interpreter for example? What are the barriers that you have now for accessing transport?
If you have a mobility allowance via Centrelink, you need to be aware that once you transition to NDIS Centrelink no longer funds mobility allowance and this will need to come under your NDIS plan. This may not be funded at the same level you had through Centrelink and it does not mean it will automatically transfer over. It all depends on your evidence, circumstances and goals.
This is why it is so important for you to prepare well and have all the evidence you can to show the need for transportation funds. Some examples of transportation funds might be attendance at hospitals or disability day services. A supporting letter from an Occupational Therapist is strongly advised.
Do you currently use communication supports? For example, Auslan interpreters, captioning, or communication support workers?
Do you have any problems communicating? In what environments do you have problems communicating?
For example, at school, work, in your sporting clubs, with your family in Auslan or in a crowd?
What communication supports would you like? Auslan training, Auslan interpreters, live captioning or a Roger FM unit?
What technology do you use in your home and or in your work environment? A laptop or an IPad? What needs to be changed to improve the safety and accessibility of your home? Maybe specialist equipment such as a visual alarm for the door, fire, phone, a hearing loop or captioned phone.
Social and community participation
What activities are your regular and occasional activities? For example, sports clubs, recreational programs, outside school hours care, holiday programs or camps.
Do you need any support to fully participate in these activities such as captioning, Auslan interpreters or communication support workers?
What are the regular activities you would like to do in the next twelve months? And what are the occasional activities you would like to do?
Maybe accessing an Auslan interpreter or communication support worker to attend hearing family or friends’ events.
Do you need support to help you build positive relationships? You may wish to consider some of the following supports. For example, psychologist, speech therapist, paediatrician, behaviour management support and advice.
Do you currently access supports like these? And what supports would you like to access over the next twelve months?
Health and Wellbeing
Do you access supports due to other requirements of your disability to help keep healthy and well?
Like for example, accessing psychology or mental health programs or interpreters at gym classes.
What supports would you like to have over the next twelve months? Maybe communication support for access to community classes and activities such as deaf yoga.
What skills, training or support could help you transition through school to further education? For example, School Leaver Employment Supports, or SLES. What is S.L.E.S. – or SLES? SLES is about preparing a young person with a disability transitioning from Year Twelve to employment.
SLES provides tailored programs for support in job skills training, travel training, work experience in open employment, time management, money handling.
What will you be transitioning to after your education? What supports will you need to assist this transition through the School Leaver Employment Supports?
Deaf specialist disability employment advice, Deaf Awareness Training, deaf mentor or role model access?
Are you at school, in training or working in a part time or full-time job? What is your ideal job? Would you like to volunteer or get work experience? Do you have barriers to achieving your ideal job and if so, what are they? Maybe no communication, access to information, no opportunity. What supports do you need to overcome these barriers? Maybe access to information, Deaf Awareness Training for workplaces or communication support.
What happens if you are not satisfied with your plan? There are three main areas
The Planning Meeting
It is important to remind yourself that a planning meeting is for you and your planner to work together to find the best solutions to meet your needs.
Both you and the planner have rights and responsibilities.
The NDIS code of conduct (July 1st 2018) says that the people who are part of the NDIS code of conduct, including your planner must
(a) act with respect for individual rights to freedom of expression, self-determination and decision-making in accordance with applicable laws and conventions;
(b) respect the privacy of people with disability;
(c) provide supports and services in a safe and competent manner, with care and skill;
(d) act with integrity, honesty and transparency;
(e) promptly take steps to raise and act on concerns about matters that may have impact on the quality and safety of supports and services provided to people with disability;
(f) take all reasonable steps to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against, and exploitation, neglect and abuse of, people with disability;
And (g) take all reasonable steps to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct.
This includes the right to have information in ‘accessible language’. Section 7.1 and 7.2 of the guidelines say that participants are entitled to written and oral versions of their plan in ‘the language of their choice’. If you do not have good understanding of written and spoken English, you have the right to have information shared with you in another language of your choice.
The planning process
This means that you and the planner work together. The planner should listen to you and work with you towards your goals. You and the planner should use this process to make a plan that is individualised to meet your goals and these should be stated in the final plan.
So now you have your plan, what if you do not think it reflects your goals and the supports you believe you need to achieve or move towards those goals?
Reviewing your Plan
You can request a review of the decisions that have been made and which are stated in your plan.
There are two different types of review.
First you may request an Internal Review. This is when the NDIA provider who made your original plan takes another look at the plan. This is requested by the participant whose plan is being reviewed or their representative for example their parents, a nominated support person or a coordination support service provider. The review is not carried out by the person who originally worked on your plan but by another person not connected with your plan and who works in the same office.
NDIS Act Section 100.2 “A request for an internal review does not affect the operation of, or prevent the NDIA from taking action to implement the original reviewable decision.”
If after an internal review the participant is still not sure the plan matches their goals and the supports they believe they need to meet those goals, then you may request an External Review.
This is carried out by the Appeals Administration Tribunal. (Appeals Administration Tribunal Act 1975.)
This kind of review of the original decision, looks at the evidence provided and is considered by a new, independent person.
Both these kinds of review are different from a third kind of review which is known as a Judicial Review.
This happens when: The participant changes their statement of goals and strategies. The participant requests a review of their plan, the NDIA conducts a review of the participant’s plan.
The review is part of the NDIS plan review cycle. It is important to know that once someone requests a review of their plan their NDIA offices have 14 days to respond to this request. If the NDIA does not respond within the 14 day time period, then an Internal review is begun automatically.
Remember the planning process, plan and review is all part of a partnership between you and the NDIA. If you are unsure or not happy with what is happening you have a right to ask for clarification on any information, decisions or plans you have received.
Your plan will also be reviewed each year as part of the planning process.
For more information on reviews and appeals see: NDIS Act 2013 sections 99-103 Appeals and Administration Tribunal Act 1975 sections 25-29, 13, 41.1 and 44) and the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977
Now you have everything prepared, you’ve gathered evidence, considered which supports and services to request and linked to your NDIS sample goals, it’s now time for the planning meeting with your NDIS Planner.
Once you have contacted the NDIA to request a plan, and then filled in and submitted the access request form posted to you, the NDIA will contact you and, if you have been approved for eligibility, will schedule a date and time for the NDIS planning meeting.
Make sure you will have enough time to prepare and collect all evidence before the meeting. If you don’t feel you’ve been given enough time to prepare, you can contact NDIS and request an extension. It is advisable to do this as soon as possible.
It’s also a good idea to ask the NDIS about the professional background of your allocated NDIS Planner before the meeting. If you feel the background, skills and experience of your allocated planner does not suit your support needs, you can request a different NDIS Planner to conduct the meeting. You cannot request a specific planner, but you can request for your existing planner to be changed.
You will also be given the option of having a support person attend the NDIS planning meeting with you. You can choose which support person you would like to bring. This can be a family member, personal friend, professional from a current service or organisation you are accessing, or an advocate. This is optional and you can also attend the meeting alone.
It’s a good idea to have all of your documented evidence (such as professional assessments, reports, etc.) neatly pre-prepared in a plastic pocket folder to give to your planner. These can be referred to throughout the meeting, and for the planner to use in the planning approval stage.
Remember, you want to make it as easy and straightforward as possible for the planner to approve the supports your child is needing, and relevant evidence is the best way to achieve this.
The NDIS planning meeting will typically run for 1.5 to 2 hours. It’s a good idea to think of your NDIS planning meeting as a bit like a business meeting. The idea of the meeting is that you are negotiating funding for supports.
Based on the information and evidence presented by you, the NDIS Planner will decide whether these supports are “reasonable and necessary” and ultimately, whether they will be funded by the NDIS.
Watch the Legislation and Language video to familiarise yourself with the kind of language that is useful when negotiating with NDIS Planners. Each NDIS planning meeting will vary depending on the style and approach of the NDIS Planner, but here are some general areas that most NDIS planning meetings will cover:
Level of functioning and support needs
The NDIS Planner will ask a series of detailed questions to gauge your level of functioning and support needs in relation to different life domains such as daily living, health and wellbeing, and learning.<br>The NDIS Planner will also want a clear idea about existing informal, community and formal supports and services assisting your support needs, and current gaps in support and service provision (if there are any). It’s a good idea to have already considered and taken notes on your level of functioning and support needs in different domains, and to provide evidence to support this information wherever possible.
In the DCA NDIS Planning Workbook, you can find prompting questions for each of these domains, which are a good way to practice and prepare for the planning meeting.
Interests, goals and hobbies
The NDIS Planner will also likely ask what activities you enjoy, and what is important for you in your daily life. It’s important to have considered these questions before the planning meeting, particularly if there is something you enjoy but have difficulty accessing due to a lack of supports in relation to your disability.
For example, you might say that you love participating in basketball games with your local team, however you are experiencing limited communication access with the coach and teammates due to a lack of Auslan interpreters being provided, or social exclusion due to a lack of deaf awareness amongst the team. This is also a good time to present the pre-prepared NDIS client goals you have come up with.
It’s important to note that your NDIS Planner will not necessarily ask you directly what supports you feel you need. They will often work this out indirectly based on your level of functioning, support needs, and the NDIS sample goals. This is why it is important to have prepared information on the supports you want to request in advance, and to have already considered how these supports can be linked to your level of functioning, support needs, and NDIS goals.
It is still a good idea to have a list of supports you would like to specifically ask for at the planning meeting. This way, if something is not covered by the planner, you can suggest it yourself and explain why this support is reasonable and necessary.
See ‘What is Covered’ for ideas on the types of supports you may want to request in your NDIS Planning meeting.
Your DCA NDIS Planning Workbook will also assist you in coming up with ideas for the types of supports that could be requested, based on different areas and domains of your life.
Another important point to be aware of in terms of requested supports, is that NDIA planners will often want to know the specific details of the requested support for example, exactly how many hours and days a year a specific support will be needed and for exactly what purpose.
They often request quotes for services such as interpreting, so it is good to be prepared with quotes wherever possible.
For instance, if you are wanting funding for an Auslan interpreter to be present at certain community events or lessons, you will often need to explain exactly which events or lessons these will be, how many hours of interpreting will be needed each time, and how many times per year, and to have a quote of amount per hour from an interpreting provider prepared and ready to show the planner.
If you are asked for a quote which you have not prepared, you can ask your planner if you can provide this after the meeting, as they will usually allow some extra time for you to get any extra information to them before your NDIS Plan is approved.
After the NDIS planning meeting, there is currently no exact time frame given for how long it will take before your plan is approved. It’s a good idea to ask for your NDIS Planner’s contact details, and if you are concerned about how long it is taking for the plan to be finalised, to follow up with your planner about this.
It is also always a good idea to ask for your NDIS Planner’s details for future contact, as this is often much easier and more straight forward than going through the NDIS general helpline.
You may benefit from early intervention supports. These supports may also be provided by the Early Intervention Partners within the NDIS and can provide substantial help with achieving developmental skills.
There are four broad requirements to be met for early intervention.
- The child has a disability or multi disabilities that are likely to be, or are, permanent.
- The NDIS is satisfied that by providing early intervention, the child’s needs for future support will be reduced.
- The NDIS is satisfied that early intervention will work to reduce the impact of the disability and improve the capacity and supports for the child into the future.
- The NDIS is satisfied that funding the child through the NDIS rather than other systems of healthcare is the correct pathway.
For example, if your child has a sensory loss, including hearing loss, which impacts on the development or language and social skills, you may access support through Early Childhood Partners (NDIS).
For a more detailed understanding of early intervention requirements, follow the link below to section 25 of the NDIS legislation.
For those aged 0-26 with a hearing loss the NDIA will be satisfied that a person meets the early intervention requirements without further assessment when the person:
- is aged between birth and 25 years of age; and
- has confirmed results from a specialist audiological assessment (including electrophysiological testing when required) consistent with auditory neuropathy OR hearing loss ≥ 25 decibels in either ear at 2 or more adjacent frequencies, which is likely to be permanent or long term; and
- the hearing loss of the person necessitates the use of personal amplification.
View DCA’s statement on the new guidelines here.
0-6: Newly diagnosed hearing loss
Your audiologist will refer you to Australian Hearing when your child is diagnosed with a hearing loss. Australian Hearing can help you apply to access the NDIS at your first appointment.
With your permission, Australian Hearing will forward evidence of your child’s hearing loss to the NDIA and you will then receive written confirmation of your child’s NDIS access within a few days.
Once your child has access they become a NDIS participant, and a specialist NDIS planner will contact you within two weeks to support you to develop your child’s first NDIS plan. This plan will include a reasonable and necessary level of funding for early intervention supports you are assessed as needing. Once approved, you can use this funding straight away with the early intervention providers you choose.