Early intervention and the NDIS

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What is early intervention?

Early intervention means doing things as soon as possible to work on your child’s developmental and support needs.

Early intervention is the best way to support the development and wellbeing of children with disability or developmental delay. It can help children develop the skills they need to take part in everyday activities. Sometimes children who get early intervention might not need long-term support.

The NDIS approach to early intervention

The NDIS approach to early childhood early intervention (ECEI) is about quick access to support. It ensures that children under seven years with disability or developmental delay get quick access to support that’s tailored to their individual needs and circumstances.

Under the NDIS early childhood early intervention approach, your child can get support without becoming an NDIS participant. This support might be information about and contacts for mainstream supports in your area, like community health services, playgroups or peer support groups. It might also be short-term early intervention.

The NDIS early childhood early intervention approach can also involve your child becoming an NDIS participant. This happens when your child needs longer-term support, and you need to request NDIS access for your child.

The NDIS also supports children aged seven years and older, but the steps to support are different for children in this age group.

The supports and services that you’ll get under the NDIS aim to build on your family’s strengths and help you support your child’s development and quality of life. These supports and services will be different for every child because they’re based on your child’s and your family’s individual needs and circumstances.

NDIS early intervention support: children under 7 years

Here’s what to do if your child under seven years has a disability or developmental delay. You can also take these steps if you or a health or other professional has concerns about your child’s development. Children under seven years don’t need a diagnosis to get early intervention support from the NDIS.

The first step is to call the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on 1800 800 110. The NDIA might tell you to call a local NDIS early childhood partner or organise for one to call you.

You might be referred to the NDIA or an early childhood partner by your GP, child and family health nurse or paediatrician, or by your child’s preschool or child care educator.

The next step is meeting with the early childhood partner to talk about your child’s and family’s needs and goals. Depending on your child’s needs, the early childhood partner might:

  • give you information about mainstreams supports and services for your child
  • connect you and your child with supports in your area, like community health services, playgroups or peer support groups
  • provide short-term early intervention supports
  • help you to request access to the NDIS if your child needs longer-term support
  • coordinate a combination of the options above.

You don’t have to pay to meet with the early childhood partner, or for the information, referrals or early intervention support the early childhood partner provides.

When your child needs an NDIS plan
If your child has longer-term support needs, your early childhood partner can help you to request NDIS access.

If your child becomes an NDIS participant, your early childhood partner will work with your family to develop an NDIS plan that supports your child’s goals.

Once your child’s NDIS plan is approved, your early childhood partner will explain your child’s NDIS plan and NDIS support budgets. They’ll also help you understand how to find and choose providers for NDIS plans.

Early intervention helps your child most when therapies and supports are provided in your child’s everyday environments – for example, at home, child care, preschool or playgroup.

NDIS early intervention support: children 7 years and older

The NDIS supports early intervention at any stage of life. But children aged seven years and older need to have a permanent and significant disability to get support.

Call the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on 1800 800 110 if your child has a permanent and significant disability.

Your GP or paediatrician might also refer your child to the NDIA.

The NDIA will set up a meeting between you and an NDIA planner or an NDIS local area coordinator (LAC) to talk about your child’s needs and goals.

Your NDIA planner or LAC will work with you to develop an NDIS plan that outlines the support that best meets your child’s needs and goals.

The NDIA planner or LAC will submit the NDIS plan to the NDIA for approval.

Once the plan is approved, you choose the service providers you want to work with. Your NDIS representative will also help you understand how to find and choose service providers for NDIS plans.

You don’t have to pay to meet with the LAC or NDIA planner, or for the plan.

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