How to navigate the NDIS

Navigating the NDIS
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) aims to give people living with a disability the funding and supports they need to live their best life. But navigating your way around the NDIS is no easy task! Eilis Melino from SPOT Paediatrics takes us through where to start.

WORDS: Eilis Melino, Director of SPOT Paediatrics

What is the NDIS?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is implemented by the NDIA (National Disability insurance agency) and provides support to people with developmental delay, intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive and psychosocial disability.

The NDIS supports more than 449,000 Australians everyday to receive much needed services and support and can be accessed by children and adults. 

The purpose of the NDIS is to provide funding for supports and services that help a person in their daily life activities, participate in the community, and achieve personal goals.

Many participants have experienced transformation in their lives because of access to the scheme. 

How do I become a participant?

7 yrs and under

  • If you and/or your child meet the eligibility criteria, you can request to become an NDIS participant by completing an ‘access request’.
  • Along with your ‘access request’ you will need to provide evidence of a disability or developmental delays for your child. This may be through reports from specialists and therapists.
  • Developmental areas that are considered to meet access to the NDIS include: cognitive (learning), communication (speech and language), mobility (gross and fine motor), self-care skills (carry out basic needs), self management (ability to make decisions), and social interaction.
  • The Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach is available to all children under 7 with a developmental delay or disability, this means that you might go through an ECEI partner—in SA it is Kudos—to support you to access the scheme. 
  • If your child is aged under 7, you can contact Kudos Services to discuss accessing the NDIS for your child. 
  • If you want to apply directly to NDIA, and not go through an ECEI partner such as Kudos, you can also do this and can request to be an NDIS participant by completing an Access Request Form. Your child’s treating therapists and specialists can help you complete the form and provide you with supporting evidence such as assessment reports


7 yrs and over

  • If your child is aged 7 and above, NDIS partners deliver Local Area Coordination (LAC) services, which includes linking you to the NDIS and to mainstream and community support in your area.
  • If you are eligible for an NDIS plan, your LAC will have a conversation with you to learn about your current situation, supports, and goals to help develop your plan.
  • The partners delivering LAC services to contact in SA are: Mission Australia (LAC Southern Adelaide) Feros Care (LAC Northern Adelaide & Barossa) Baptcare (LAC Easter & Western Adelaide). 
  • Local Area Coordinators can help you to:
  • Understand and access the NDIS. This can include workshops or individual conversations about the NDIS.
  • Create a plan. A plan includes the goals you want to achieve with your funding and the dates you have your funding for before a review.
  • Implement your plan. Your LAC will help you to find and start receiving the services in your NDIS plan.
  • Your LAC can also provide assistance throughout your plan if you have any questions.
  • For participants new to the scheme, understanding fund management and knowing what to do next can be overwhelming. There are 3 different ways funds can be managed. Your planner will discuss how your funds are managed when you receive your plan. Plan Managed and Self Managed funds can be used with unregistered providers. Agency Managed funds can only be used with Registered providers.
  • As a parent of a participant you are responsible for selecting the therapies you would like your child to receive and for being aware of how much services cost for the entirety of your child’s plan.
  • You can ask your service providers to give you a service allocation which summarises the cost of therapy based on the frequency recommended as well as factor in documentation costs. You are required to choose services that will assist in reaching your child’s goals.
  • Under 7’s plans will usually last 12 months, then a review is conducted at 12 months with reports from your providers. For over 7’s, plans may be 12 months or longer, longer plans may be offered if services are established and don’t need changing or review.
  • Your service providers are often a great source of information in regards to NDIS and supporting you to access the scheme.

For more information:

To complete a questionnaire and determine if your child may be eligible to apply for the NDIS:

Providing evidence of a disability:

Follow NDIS National Disability Insurance Scheme on Facebook:



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