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Judy James says that including Support Coordination in her twin nieces’ NDIS packages was, in her mind, ‘essential’.
“I really felt that coordinating all of Alexandra and Pamela’s supports by myself was beyond my capability. Making sure that they get what they need and that their supports are properly organised is just too important not to be done properly. There’s a lot involved and, if you really don’t understand, it can cause a lot of problems.
“The Support Coordinator has been fantastic at conversing with the various providers – acting as a go-between for me and them. She knows the girls’ entitlement and she can make sure they’re getting what they need. She’s got our backs on it all.
“I don’t muck around with computers, plus they’ve got all the contacts, have those business rapports, and they know what they’re talking about. For example, once you break down your plan there’s a lot of categories within it, like transport and behavioural support. Their knowledge of the individual and what they’re entitled to is worth a lot. Truthfully, I’d be lost without them.
“I do feel that you can fall into traps if you don’t really know what you’re entitled and allowed to do. Like companies coming asking to see your plan, when they don’t have any right to. That naivety can cause problems which having someone on your side helps overcome.
“I have had no issues at all with the service, in fact they brought up things that I hadn’t thought of – opportunities for the girls that were allowed within the categories but I would never have picked up on myself.
“If you’re thinking of Support Coordination as part of your plan, I’d say absolutely go ahead and do it – trust them and give them the information that they need. It takes so much pressure off. You don’t need to stress about things falling through the cracks; you check stuff, pass stuff on and they keep their eye on the ball.
“What I would say is that you have to be prepared to do your homework if you want to get what you need out of the NDIS. I would encourage people to take a representative from one of the teams that you’re planning on getting support from. We hadn’t been using Endeavour Foundation before the NDIS, but Carol came along to support me as I was terrified of not getting what the girls needed. She gave me a heads-up on what I needed to do and expect beforehand, but having her there at the meeting reassured me that I wouldn’t miss anything out.
“Preparation is everything though, or you’ll be overwhelmed. There was a lot of stuff I wouldn’t have thought of if I hadn’t prepared beforehand. It’s such an important meeting, and you can miss out so quickly without even realising.
“That said, the NDIS really, really has made such a difference to their lives. Before this they were falling through the cracks because their care hours were combined with those of their housemates. They weren’t getting the care they needed, but all that has changed now. It’s been awesome.
“Truthfully, the NDIS has been amazing. We’ve had to ask for a few things to be changed, but it was all fixed up no problem. Just be polite and patient and you’ll get there. The NDIA have been so helpful – it’s been the best thing ever for the girls.”