Chris Taylor from Toowoomba is stepdad to Jayden, 6, (pictured with his sister) with a disability. Chris is the Site Manager at Endeavour Foundation’s Toowoomba Business Service. Here he shares his family’s experience to date with the NDIS.
A little about your family, Chris:
We are a blended family, between my partner Carolyn and I, we have four children. One of those four children, is Jayden, who is my stepson. Jayden has a mild intellectual disability and has been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, anxiety and ADHD.
Up until the NDIS, Carolyn has always dealt with DSQ for funding, which was next to nothing. However, because I work for Endeavour Foundation and had been discussing the NDIS with her, I’ve been able to help her with Jayden’s pre-planning and planning meeting to get him ready for the NDIS.
What was your experience like to the lead up of Jayden’s planning meeting?
Jayden was already on DSQ’s Register of Need so original contact was made with us from the NDIA to fill out paperwork to confirm our details and Jayden’s disability.
The documentation was posted to us straight away as it arrived in a couple of days, and while it looks like a lot of paperwork when it first arrives in fact it wasn’t the case at all. We only had to fill out two sections and sent it back.
We were contacted a month later by the NDIA Planner to arrange a meeting. So it was straight forward for us.
How was Jayden’s planning meeting, Chris?
I have been surprised at how easy the whole process has been so far. The NDIA Planner came to our house for a face-to-face meeting, which I was very surprised this happened. I thought it was going to be a meeting over the phone.
The meeting went for about three hours and it was very successful. After years of fighting for funding, I was very surprised as how easy it was to sit down with the Planner and tell them what Jayden’s needs were, have someone listen to us and reassure us that it was very possible to receive funding for these supports.
We have been told that Jayden’s plan will be reviewed each year from his date of birth, meaning he will have his first year review plan meeting before the actual date the plan will be activated. Again, this was a surprise to us and something I haven’t heard of happening to anyone else yet.
What advice would you give to other people about the NDIS/preplanning for their planning meeting?
You need to go into your planning meeting very prepared. Understand and know what your short and long term goals are. If you have a young child, you really need to know what outcomes you would like for the individual and of course what they want.
Do you have access to any services/supports that you didn’t before?
Despite my partner constantly lobbying DSQ for funding to help with Jayden’s supports, we have only ever received two nights of emergency respite, and this was because as a family we were at breaking point, especially my partner.
We are now waiting to receive Jayden’s plan, however from what has been indicated to us that he will be getting the support which matches his needs, this includes speech pathology and a psychologist.
During Jayden’s planning meeting I indicated that I would like to see Jayden have access to some one-on-one support at school. In terms of schooling, I understand this falls under the Department of Education, however there is a way around it and this will allow Jayden to have this support when it’s required. I was really surprised about this one. I guess it’s a case of, if you don’t ask you will not receive.
Our overall experience has been excellent. The NDIS is something that people shouldn’t be stressed about or worried about it. It’s a great opportunity to be able to have a Scheme like this now. We are seeing people with a disability receiving a lot more support which will enable them to live a more fulfilled life.
I can see now that Jayden is going to have a lot more opportunities throughout his life that will possibly lead to a better future for him. This makes me really happy.