Appendix B: Further Information relating to National ASD support

Support services for those with ASD are available at the national, State or Territory, or local level. National level services are those that are available regardless of geographical area, and as such are relevant to all PlayConnect groups.

These national level services are explained in greater detail. This will include:

  • Medicare,
  • Centrelink,
  • Early Intervention Services, and the
  • NDIS

Medicare

There are a number of Medicare rebates available for therapy. These rebates do not cover the entire fee and usually patients will be required to pay the full amount then make a claim to Medicare for the rebate.

The Better Access to Mental Health Plan is also relevant. This plan is available to any individual who feels that their overall wellbeing and mental health is at risk. This item provides six sessions of individual therapy (an additional four sessions are available if needed), and 10 group sessions of therapy per calendar year with a psychologist, social worker or occupational therapist. This plan is written by your GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician. See: www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/medicare

Centrelink

There are several Centrelink services that may be relevant:

  • Carer Allowance. Families may be eligible for the Carer Allowance (Child or Adult), which doctors can help them access. There is also an annual lump sum payment for people who receive the Carer Allowance called the Child Disability Assistance Payment. These payments are not means tested.
  • Carer Payment. Families that are unable to access paid work due to the demands of their caring role, may be eligible for the Carer Payment (Child or Adult). This payment is income and assets tested, and takes into account family income. For more information, please visit the Department of Human Services’ website or phone 132 717 www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/centrelink
  • Health Care Card. Thechildren of these receivingtheCarerAllowancearealsoeligible for a Health Care Card. The Health Care Card allows you access to cheaper medicines and other concessions such as discounted public transport for some cardholders, bulk billing by selected doctors, and higher refunds through the Medicare safety net

Early Intervention Services

Each state and territory has a range of funding options available that are designed to support individuals with ASD. Most commonly, this consists of an early intervention service that targets service provision and additional support for children under school age.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) 

About the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is an insurance scheme administered by the federal government to provide for people under 65 who are living with a permanent and significant disability. NDIS funding supports that are considered reasonable and necessary to help people live life and achieve their goals.

Families of children with ASD can use the scheme to help fund therapeutic supports, communicationequipmentandtransdisciplinary services for early intervention. The scheme continues to be rolled out with full coverage scheduled for 2019. People who previously accessed ADCH funded services are expected to transition to the new scheme. People not currently involved in ADCH funded services are required to check their eligibility and apply for the NDIS.

First Plan

On initial contact with the NDIS an applicant will work with the NDIS representative to develop a targeted assistance plan. The representative will direct discussions to become better informed abouttheperson’sdailyroutines,abilities,current supports and existing levels of independence.

The initial plan is put in place for a 12-month period and can include a range of supports provided by various people and services.

Plans may include the following information

  • Informal supports:Referstotheleveland hours of care one receives from a relative or a friend
  • Community supports: Activities andservices that may be provided within the local community by individual people or groups that a person attends/or plans to attend.
  • Mainstream supports: Supports fromdoctors and schools that a child may require
  • Reasonable and necessary funded supports: This refers to the things that NDIS is able to fund. They need to be directly related to the disability and are necessary to live life or improve outcomes for the individual.
NDIS Providers

Service providers offer supports for participants of the NDIS. When a service provider is registered with the NDIS, it means that they have met formal requirements of the NDIS. There are many services that are now nationally registered with the NDIS and can provide support to both children and adults. The NDIS website; www.ndis.gov.au. provides regular updates on NDIS service providers for families to access.

Early Childhood Early Intervention

The NDIS has engaged services in communities that provide early intervention services to children under 6 years of age. These are known as ECEI Partners, and provide a range of services that are designed to support families to help children develop skills required for daily activities and achieve positive outcomes.

Some of the services ECEI Partners can offer children include:

  • Connection of families with appropriate local supports such as the community health, educational setting and playgroup
  • Provision of early intervention where it has been identified as the most appropriate support.
  • Advice and support to progress request for NDIS access. If a child through, their service, becomes an NDIS participant the ECEI can work with the family to help them develop a plan.
Local Area STO’s

Local area STO’s are services that have partnered with the NDIS to help support peoples transition to the scheme on a local level. They are often involved in the sourcing of services for and linking a person to supports and services.

How to use NDIS Funds

Families and participants have various options on how their funding is managed. Once plans are approved, families/participant are given access to a participant portal which can be used to manage and process funding. Options of how funds are managed include:

  • Self-managed funds. This means that either aparticipantorcarercompleteandreporton NDIS transitions for services
  • Agency managed funds. Providers of a service claim directly to the NDIA for services
  • Combination of self and agency Participantscanself-managetheirsupports and agencies can manage the finances associated with the plan.
  • Plan management provider. A third party that manages the financial transactions associate with a plan
What does a PlayConnect Facilitator need to know about the NDIS

PlayConnect Facilitators should be be aware of theexistenceoftheNDISandhaveknowledge of what services are available in a local area to provide information. They also need to acknowledge that for some people, the NDIS can cause some levels of anxiety such that it is important to allow applicants the opportunity to talk about their experiences and provide contacts to outside support services that may be able to assist.

How you can support NDIS
  • Research what the local Early Childhood Early Intervention Services (ECEI) are in the local area
  • Connect with Early Linkers in the local area that can help families with NDIS
  • Invite services involved in the NDIS to visit groups and offer information about their services
  • Direct people to the NDIS website
  • Allow people to talk about their experiences and acknowledge their feelings
Facilitators are not expected
  • To be NDIS experts
  • To support the development of plans
  • To offer advice in funding management
Further resources for NDIS