Over the past 2 ½ years I have spoken with thousands of people with disability, their families and carers, advocates and support workers sharing information, knowledge and experience about all things NDIS. These discussions have highlighted issues, anxieties, problems and frustrations but also options, possibilities, developments and opportunities for the future. I have loved my role as Community Educator for the Every Australian Counts campaign; it is something I feel very proud and privileged to have been a part of and these are exciting and challenging times.
If you have a child with a disability and never have been eligible for financial assistance before, the NDIS is like the answer to your dreams. To be able to write a plan with no limits, no thinking about the cost, no thinking where will I get the money from. I can tell you this was a dream we would have never thought possible.
I belong to a group on Facebook. It’s called “NDIS Grassroots Discussion”, and it’s a place where nearly 30,000 people share their NDIS stories – their fears, wrongs, questions, anger and sometimes, their NDIS joys.
The NDIS is a new way of supporting people with disability. Whilst it aims to provide greater choice and control regarding services for participants it also recognises the important role of ‘informal supports’.
My sister Meredith and I are friends. We meet at least twice a week to drink tea and catch up. We work on arts projects together and belong to a peer organisation where Meredith is a member of the group I facilitate called the Freedom Fighters.
I grew up “with my mother’s knees” – the sort that didn’t like to stay together when I looked a certain way. And I also learned her generous ways, and gave the same delights to my daughter. Oh, and apparently there were quite a few other genes I passed on that were “just not right” in so many ways.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is one of the most important social reforms in recent history. The NDIS creates a uniform system of disability services across Australia and increases the social and economic participation of people with disability.
This weekend’s Good Weekend featured the story “Parenting an intellectually disabled child: life forever on duty” about Alex Browne a 22-year-old man with an intellectual disability. It showed that not much has changed when it comes to improving media representation of people with disabilities in this country. But listen up journos, it’s not okay to degrade people with disabilities and represent us as burdens, just because you think it makes a good story.
Today, the call came. After years of campaigning, seeing it germinate from a crazy new idea to a bi-partisan policy, biting fingernails over government changes, trials and then the roll out and waiting to transition.
Around the country, disabled Australians and their families were celebrating. Australia is #ndisready, social media proudly proclaimed. A sea of purple signs, bearing the words ‘I <3 ndis’, rolled across our computer monitors and television screens.
Up until now, for many of us living with disabilities or caring for someone with a disability, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been something that we have only advocated for and dreamt about. But on 1 July, the NDIS moved from trial phase to full rollout and for thousands of Australians, the advocacy will finally pay off and it will be time to turn those dreams into reality. Here is some advice on what you need to do to get NDIS ready.