At Xavier, we’ve been supporting families to navigate the NDIS since its rollout. One of the areas that can cause confusion for families is determining whether specific funding is the responsibility of the NDIS or another service or system. In this article we explore the funding responsibilities of the NDIS and other systems in relation to early childhood development.
Within early childhood development the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), health system and the NDIS each play a role and should work together to support infants and children in the early years of their development.
Below we summarise the activities that may be funded by the health system, the ECEC system and the NDIS.
- Diagnostic assessment and screening for development delay and other mental or physical conditions
- Support for families and carers to understand and manage the process and outcomes of assessment/diagnosis, including counselling and other supports
- Child and maternal health services where interventions are primarily treatment related or medical, including newborn follow-up
- Meeting the primary education and care needs of children
- Additional Educators who can assist with increasing the Educator to child ratios in the service but not to provide one to one supports
- Additional resources which will support the participation of children with disability in early childhood education
- Building the capacity of ECEC services to provide inclusive education and care to all children such as staff training
- Post diagnosis information including referrals and coordination with community and both mainstream and specialist early childhood services
- Additional supports required due to the impact of a child’s impairment on their functional capacity such as aids and equipment (hearing aids, communication devices and mobility aids)
- Early interventions that are likely to increase a child’s level of functioning towards that of children of a similar age without which the child is likely to require NDIS funded supports in the future
- Additional supports to address behaviours which are a results of a child’s disability and integrally linked to the support the child needs to live in the community and participate in education
- Capacity building and general supports that improve awareness, build community capacity and create support networks for children and parents
- The coordination of NDIS supports with the systems providing early childhood support
- High Intensity Daily Supports or specific personal support, provided by a Support Worker, to enable a child with complex needs to participate in mainstream or specialised education
Here is an example of how this might look.
Poppy – three years old, multiple physical disabilities
Poppy is three years old and participates in a mainstream ECEC centre near her home for three days per week. Poppy loves music, being with her friends and story time. Poppy has complex disabilities; she uses a wheelchair funded by the NDIA to get around and has a feeding tube and medication that must be administered throughout the day.
The NDIS fund a Support Worker to attend child care with Poppy, to support her health and mobility needs throughout the day. These include moving Poppy from one place to another, personal care, administering medication and feeding Poppy via her feeding tube.
The ECEC access Inclusion Support to fund a special table to suit Poppy’s wheelchair so she can sit with her classmates at activity times and participate. The centre also use Inclusion Support funds for modifications to enable Poppy to attend their program including accessibility ramps at the front and back of the centre. Poppy’s NDIA funded therapists can attend the service and write programs specific to her needs at ECEC and the ECEC Inclusion Support funding can pay for her therapist to come and provide training to the educators at the service to ensure their learning program meets her needs.
Principles to determine the responsibility of the NDIS and other service systems
There are 6 principles used to determine the funding and delivery responsibilities of the NDIS and other service providers. This helps government and non-government organisations, businesses and the wider community to work together to enable people with disability to fulfil their potential as equal citizens. Click through for principles.
Other articles on the NDIS and funding