Debbie Brooks from Port Stephens, NSW, is mum to Peter Pattison, 27, and also cares for another person with a disability in a Host Care situation.
She has recently been through planning meetings with the NDIS as a parent and carer, as well as having accompanied her clients as part of her job in the disability sector.
Debbie, how did you find your planning meetings?
As a parent, I have been to two planning meetings – one for each separate adult in my care. The first meeting was with a Local Area Co-ordinator and went well. I felt listened to and understood.
The second meeting about the other person I care for was even better, though this may have been because I had a better understanding of how the meeting would be conducted.
One negative was that when I was initially contacted by NDIA (phone) about setting the meeting, I specifically told them that they needed to have an understanding about my situation as a Host Care Family.
I wanted the planner to be able to understand Host Care situations and have the knowledge to talk about it. But when I went to the meeting, I was told that this information hadn’t been passed along to them and they didn’t have any knowledge.
Aside from that though, the meeting went well.
What advice would you give to other people about preparing for their planning meeting?
My advice would be to write down everything before the meeting. I had a pre-planning booklet that covered areas for all the domains under NDIS. I wrote in it for weeks and this was really helpful in the meeting.
Has the NDIS made any difference to your life so far?
The meeting took place over a month ago but we are still waiting for the Plan to come out. I am very hopeful that the Plan provides additional opportunities for my son.
I am a bit fearful about the funding for accommodation in our particular situation as Host Care Family. [Please note: your existing funding and supports continue until you receive your NDIS plan]
Do you have access to any services/supports that you didn’t before?
As I say, I don’t have the plan yet so I can’t be certain, but I was well prepared to talk about getting funding to assist with employment options/assistance for my son.
I am aware that a new supported employment service and also a new day service is being opened by Endeavour Foundation in Warabrook. I am hoping that this will provide opportunities for employment for one of my sons, and also that my other son can attend the day service.
Having been through this process a few times now in my caring roles and my work, I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to be really prepared for the meeting, write down everything about the supports currently received and also the extra supports that the person needs.
If you'd like some help with pre-planning, we've produced a workbook 'Mapping My World', available here and we offer one-on-one pre-planning meetings to our existing customers as the NDIS is being rolled out. Our NDIS helpline - 1800 112 112 is also available to answer any questions you may have.