National Disability Insurance Scheme: Early Intervention Services

On the eve of the launch of the NDIS in Australia, I am wondering about the possibilities for greater support for families.

After almost three decades of supporting children with communication difficulties, I am still moved by the courage and determination of carers to advocate for vulnerable children. I recognise however, that without resources families feel frustrated and disempowered. Resources can include; accessible funded support, local service options, flexible service delivery models and inclusive treatment programs including one on one intervention.

I am eagerly awaiting the outcomes of the trial program in the Barwon Region of Victoria (Geelong). Early Intervention services will be supplemented as part of the NDIS. Consequently, children with communication difficulties
should receive better support resulting in better outcomes. The proviso is that families will be able to access those evidence based programs to be endorsed through the NDIS through increases in funded support. It is however my determination that the measure of success will ultimately be if all children who require Early Intervention support will get Early Intervention support. It would be beneficial if those professionals working with children were also supported in up-skilling. Allied Health professionals such as Speech Pathologists and Occupational Therapists are under increasing pressure to self-fund extensive continuing education to comply with stipulated /evidence based practices/.

Overall, it is my understanding that the NDIS will assist children with disabilities by providing:
  • an extra $200 million from 2011-12 to 2013-14 for support for school students with a disability; and
  • more than $118 million from 2011-12 to 2015-16 for access to early intervention services for children with vision or hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome or fragile X syndrome.
  • in excess of $220 million  for early intervention services for children with autism under the Helping Children with Autism initiative.

For specific information regarding Early Intervention please go to the following link
You may find it easiest to go straight to the PDF attachment at the bottom of the page. You can also click on LISTEN and have the information read to you.

Cheers and good luck to the NDIS!
I hope it delivers ‘real differences’ for all disabled individuals and their families.