Susan Cooke from Townsville is mum to two adult children with a disability, Evan (pictured right) and Katrina. Here she shares her experiences to date with the NDIS.
How was your planning meeting, Susan?
Very straightforward, actually. I’ve heard from others that wasn’t been the case for them, but for us it was. The NDIA initially called me to confirm mine and Evan’s details (as Evan was previously accessing DSQ services so he was automatically rolled in to the scheme). Then we received a letter with Evan’s NDIS number and shortly afterwards went to our planning meeting.
I went in for the meeting on 7th September and we received the finalised plan and funding on 23rdSeptember. I’ve been surprised how easy the whole process was actually, I was expecting it to be much harder.
What advice would you give to other people about the NDIS/preparing for their planning meeting?
You really have to sit down and think. I used Mapping My World. The day service (L&L) staff helped me fill out what Evan does during the day, and I filled out what he does at home. It was enough to get me started and give us an idea of what the NDIS wanted to know.
Evan’s needs are pretty straight forward. He’s 27 now but he was born with a disability and has needed some support all his life. However, because we really were just asking for continuation of day services, support coordination and some support for unmet need, his wasn’t a complicated plan. I do feel for others who need a lot of equipment or modifications as I hear it’s harder with the assessments.
Has the NDIS made any difference to your life so far?
For me personally it’s been similar to before, though I think it will make a huge difference for other people with higher levels of need. Evan is straight forward and we got what we need for him in terms of support.
The big thing for me is that Evan is able to get four hours of support a week that I can roll over and accumulate each week, so we can access respite. This means I’ll be able to get away for a weekend and Evan can have a bit more independence, which we weren’t really able to do before.
Do you have access to any services/supports that you didn’t before?
Some respite, as mentioned. However, my daughter Katrina also has a disability and lives with me and Evan. I am thinking ahead for when I’m older and both of them can maybe live together in an independent house, but share a support worker for their care. This is something I think I’ll be looking at in the next plan, in 12 months’ time.
I’m happy with Evan’s plan. I think the NDIS is a good opportunity for a lot of people. Before the NDIS, we had to ‘beg, borrow or steal’, so to speak, to support our kids. We don’t have to do that anymore.