Once the NDIS confirms you are eligible for help, you can start thinking about what you need.
People who have already joined the NDIS all say the same thing – things go much better if you plan ahead.
The first time you meet with the NDIS, they will ask you to focus on what you need for the next twelve months. The idea of your first plan is to make sure your most important and urgent needs are taken care of first. That doesn’t mean that you can’t think further ahead – but the point of the first plan is to make sure all the basics get covered.
So you need to think about what you immediately need. What kinds of help and support do you need every day? Every week? A few times year? After that, your future NDIS plans can focus more on your long term goals. They might be bigger things like moving out of home or getting a job. That’s the other reason the first plan just focuses on the first twelve months – it gives you some time to think about the bigger stuff.
It can be hard to think about this all on your own. It’s a great idea to talk about it with family or friends or your peers. Some people have developed some workbooks to help you get started. You might like to have a look at these, or make up one of your own.
While all these workbooks are all different, they do all get you to focus on similar things – what help you currently get, what help you need, what things you do now and what you would like to do in the future.
If working your way through a workbook just isn’t your thing, there are other ways you can get yourself started. Think about your average day or your average week – what do you currently do, and what would you like to do in the future? Maybe jot down some notes, or keep a diary for a week, or take some photos.
The NDIA recommends filling out the Getting ready for your planning conversation checklist before your first planning meeting.
Association for Children with Disability
The NDIS Planning Workbook is designed to be used by families but can be adapted for anyone:
Down Syndrome Western Australia
NDIS and Me: Steps to Plan in WA Workbook is designed for people with Down syndrome and/or their families in Western Australia, but again the ideas can be used by anyone.
Carers Australia have three example pre planning booklets:
Oldies but goodies
Back in the first few years of the NDIS, the NDIA gave all new participants an NDIS planning workbook. We still have an old copy. While the information about the NDIS planning process is out of date and no longer correct, the questions about needs and goals are still helpful and useful. Just remember to ignore all the other stuff.
The people at Ideas have also kept an Easy English version of the old NDIS planning workbook.
And NDIS planning workbook: helping you through the NDIS planning journey was designed to help people with disability from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.
Get as much evidence as you can
The other thing you need to do to get ready is collect as much information as you can about yourself. The kind of information that is most helpful is information that talks about the impact your disability has on your daily life. You might have collected some of that information as part of your Access Request.
Do you have old reports or assessments that talk about how your disability affects you? Do you have letters from doctors, or speech therapists or physiotherapists? Start putting them together to take to the planning meeting.
But remember it’s not your diagnosis that is important – it is the way your disability impacts your daily life.