Richa Madaan

Richa Madaan

NDIS for Children: An Essential Guide to Early Intervention

  Jan 17, 2024
Reviewed by Ravinder Kaur

2016 saw the nationwide rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Set up to provide a funding lifeline for individuals coping with permanent and significant disabilities, the scheme opened a world of possibilities, cutting across the deadlocks the country had been battling for years.

What’s even more heartening is the sheer scale of the impact. We’re talking to hundreds of thousands of people right across Australia. Kids, in particular, have seen their lives turned around thanks to this all-imperative, publicly funded initiative. It’s like a gust of fresh wind that’s been long overdue.

So, how’d the NDIS pull off this monumental feat? With a twofold strategic approach that considers both ends of the age spectrum. First, the Early Childhood Intervention Program was meticulously crafted to address the specific needs and challenges faced by younger children. Second, General One extended full-blown support to older kids and adults, making sure no one was left on the margins.

Do You Know: Earlier the age limit for applying for the NDIS scheme was for kids younger than 7, but in July 2023 it was extended to children younger than 9.

What is the Early Intervention Program?

There’s something powerfully hopeful about the NDIS’s understanding of ‘early involvement.’ It simply means not waiting for tomorrow to make things right. Kids with disabilities and their guardians are given the support and the tools they need as soon as they can hold onto them. The game plan? To reduce the hurdles their impairments might impose and make their journey a little easier with the help of qualified providers of NDIS services.

The Early Intervention Program is used to cater only to those kinds under six years old. Since July 2023, there’s been a seismic shift in the right direction. Thanks to fresh-off-the-press legislation, it is now stretching that umbrella of support to kids under nine.

NDIS scheme participants

Is Your Child Eligible for Early Intervention?  

For your child to be considered eligible, they must meet the following criteria:  

  1. They must be Australian citizens, reside in the country, or hold a permanent or protected status.
  1. They must show a form of impairment that meets prior intervention requirements outlined by it. These impairments could be cognitive, neurological, intellectual, physical, psychosocial, or hearing. 
  1. If the NDIS determines that early involvement will significantly benefit your child in such a way that they may need less disability support in the future, and benefit from improved capacity. 
  1. The early intervention needs your child has is appropriately covered by the following scheme. 
  1. The disability should also be permanent or shows the likelihood of being permanent and significantly reduces their functional capacity in areas such as mobility, social interactions, learning, etc.  

Further, the NDIS may immediately enroll your child under the early intervention program if they are younger than nine and have the following conditions: 

  • Chromosomal abnormalities causing permanent impairment, for example, Global Developmental Delay, CHARGE syndrome.
  • Cohen syndrome. 
  • Systemic atrophies affecting the central nervous system like Louis-Bar syndrome/ Ataxia-telangiectasia, and Niemann-Pick disease (Types A and C). 
  • Spinal muscular atrophies like Infantile Refsum disease and Dejerine-Sottas neuropathy.
  • Cerebral Palsy and paralytic syndromes.
  • Conditions resulting from speech and sensory impairments.
  • Conditions resulting in physical impairment, like amputation and Hay-Wells syndrome.
  • Congenital conditions, and many more 

To get a true picture of these conditions, visit the NDIS website or consult an expert near you to advise you further.  

Do You Know: If you apply for NDIS, you’ll hear from the authorities within 21 days. The only reason for your application being canceled is that you haven’t given enough information. You still can go for another application and ask for an internal review.

What Early Intervention Services Does NDIS Cover? 

So, what’s included in the NDIS’s early intervention bucket, you ask? At its heart, the scheme’s prior intervention plan is all about giving infants and young children experiencing developmental delays or disabilities a fighting chance. It’s about making sure they get the best possible start in life.

Take a look at the services the scheme may cover for your little one:

  • Therapies: Everything from speech therapy, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy, tailored to what the child needs.
  • Integration Services: These are designed to help your young ones engage fully with life both at home and out in the community. This approach brings everyone into the fold—the family unit and early childhood professionals. One of the VIPs in this process is a ‘key worker’, someone handpicked to work closely with the family, guiding and supporting them every step of the way. 
  • Mobility Equipment: Offering a helping hand (or wheel) with customized aids to boost functional independence.
  • School Readiness: Preparing kids to soar in educational settings and achieve their best, no matter the challenges they face.
  • Parental Support: Training and coaching to help parents become their child’s top supporters and champions.

So gear up and get ready for some spectacular progress, because these services are here to catapult your child towards living their best life!

How Do You Apply for Early Intervention?

To apply to the NDIS, you ideally need to follow the following process:  

Determine Your Child’s Eligibility 

Step one: head on over to their website to find out if your kid is eligible for the program. If you find you’ve got a match, your next step is to complete an access form. You’ve got three options here. Head online to the NDIS website to fill out the form, walk into its partner office in your neighborhood, or just kick back and call them to have them send the form your way.

Get Your Evidence 

At this point, you need to attach documents indicating your age, residence, and your child’s disability. For the latter document, you’ll need to have the specialist treating your child complete a professional report specially designed by the NDIS. 

After you’ve collected the necessary evidence, submit it to the NDIS via email or mail, or drop it at their respective office near you.  

Once you’ve submitted the information as required, the authorities will check the application and determine eligibility. If they need further information, they’ll reach out to you within a set time frame.  

What to Look for in an NDIS Service Provider 

While the NDIS is a government service, it’s not the government that provides all the facilities. Instead, it provides the funds to you through your NDIS plan. It’s up to you to choose the provider depending on your child’s unique needs.   

Here are some factors you should take into the account when choosing an NDIS facility: 

  1. First, determine your child’s needs. Go for a service provider with expertise to attend.  
  1. Look for reviews from other patients or parents who’ve worked with the one you’re considering. This can provide you with a treasure trove of information about these individuals.  
  1. Consider if they offer additional support services that may not be indicated on your plan but can help in your child’s daily life. This can significantly influence your choice.  
  1. Go for an accredited one that’s been vetted and entrusted by the scheme to offer quality facilities.  

These tips can guide you toward settling for the best service provider to meet your child’s name. Look through the different options to find out who will best work for your case. 

Final Thoughts 

The NDIS is more than just a program. It casts a glowing beacon of hope for kids braving disability with their unstoppable spirit. Every piece of their early intervention jigsaw is a meticulously crafted bridge toward unlocking a world of potential. It offers up a stage for talents to flourish, a space for these little sparklers to shine.

Caught in the throes of this beautiful struggle? Don’t ever feel like you’re on this journey alone – there’s a village behind you. Reach out to the friendly experts at NDIS. They’re all geared up to show you the ropes to ignite your child’s journey to phenomenal heights.