I would find it hard to go to an NDIA meeting and express to them what my child needs. I feel like they should be able to tell me what my child needs.
NDIA Planners (the staff who walk you through the NDIS process) are not qualified in the area of hearing loss. They are only there to help you construct a plan for your child’s supports and funding based on the information that you provide. If you feel ill-equipped to provide enough information, it’s wise to reach out to specialists already working with your child and family. If your family is with The Shepherd Centre already or planning on choosing us as your service provider, we’ll support you through the whole process and provide supporting documents tailored to your child’s situation that you can take with you to planning meetings.
I’m worried my child’s unilateral hearing loss will be overlooked when it comes to eligibility. What should I do?
Providing evidence of eligibility to the NDIA is vital when it comes to gaining access to the support your child needs. If you’re worried about meeting eligibility requirements, it’s a good idea to discuss your concerns with staff at The Shepherd Centre prior to meeting with the NDIA or submitting an eligibility form. The NDIS is designed to cater to your child’s individual needs. When it comes to articulating the reasons why some supports are necessary for your child, it can be helpful for therapists from The Shepherd Centre to prepare supporting documents for you to submit along with your eligibility form.
Are the people in the NDIA meeting familiar with what a person with hearing loss needs?
No, they may have no exposure to hearing loss at all. They’ll be relying on your understanding of what your child is experiencing and what they need. You are the main advocate for your child in this situation. This can be overwhelming but we can help. Before your meeting with the NDIA, we’ll meet with you to make sure you have all the information you need. The Shepherd Centre can also write support letters you can take with you showing research, outcomes and the benefits of what we offer to support your child’s needs. In this way, we can advocate alongside you.
Are we allowed to have someone with us in the NDIA meeting?
In principle, legislation gives you the right to have a support person with you. If you want a support person from The Shepherd Centre to come and be able to explain some of the technical information, talk to the NDIA. As with all your interactions with the NDIA, you’re in control – if you want something, discuss it with them.
What do the goals look like for my child?
Some examples could include, ‘I want my child to be able to talk to me’ (for younger children) or ‘I want my child to be able to make friends’ (for older children). Alternatively, your goal could be specific. For example, ‘I want my child to go to Scouts but the hall is too noisy’ – in that case, upskilling scout leaders could be covered. The goals can be very broad. One example might be that you want your family to be able to go on an overseas holiday together. This may not have been possible because your child is scared of the associated sounds. In this case, the NDIS won’t pay for the flight but they might pay for sessions that support and equip your child so they can confidently travel in an airplane.
If I have more than one child will I have to attend more than one NDIA meeting?
It would be best to mention this issue early on when you’re first in touch with the NDIA. Hopefully the Agency will cover all children in your family during the one meeting.
Does the planning process only happen once?
No. The NDIA will stay in touch periodically to assess progress and re-plan when necessary. Because the NDIS covers 0-65 years of life, many things will change in your child’s life and their NDIS arrangement will be reviewed to suit. If a check-in is required, it’ll be up to the NDIA to let you know. However, if you’d like to reconnect with NDIA due to a change of circumstance or a concern, you can always contact them directly.
How often do you have to reapply for the NDIS?
Mostly once you’re in, you’re eligible. If you get to a point in your life where you don’t have a need then you can opt out. In saying that, there is always a need with hearing loss – particularly with the replacement of equipment etc. If eligibility is for early intervention only then will they reassess your progress but this doesn’t mean your support will end just because your child has reached a certain age – it will just change as they grow up.
How can I know if my child has received enough funding?
The NDIA uses basic guides to benchmark service costs across different service providers. These amounts can be arbitrary and may not be representative of the actual value of support. This means one service can seem ‘cheaper’ than another but it may not be the best option for your child. Thankfully, the NDIS is not restricted to funding the cheapest option you can find – it is funding the right option for your child. The cost of support can differ greatly between children and with appropriate rationale, the focus shouldn’t be on how much a service costs but which services are right for each child and achieve the outcomes you are looking for.