This post is a follow on from 5 Things Special Needs Parents Should Know About the NDIS. In this post, my guest NDIS planner shares practical advice for what should be included in therapist reports for the NDIS. This includes reports when entering the scheme and when it’s time for a plan review. As you’ll see, the best chance of success is having specific, measurable and relevant information included in the report, the first time around. These are important points to keep in mind when you next review your child’s NDIS plan.
This is one of the biggest pitfalls out there for the unsuspecting parent. You can’t assume that the report provided by the allied health therapist will contain all the information required to get the funding your child needs.
Depending on the therapist, reports can range from a line of tick boxes to a 20-page essay on the benefits of their particular method of therapy. Countless times, I’ve personally seen therapy reports which do not provide anywhere near sufficient evidence to continue funding a therapeutic support for a child (I could do another 5 points just on reports for assistive technology!). I have seen three-line reports with a quote attached for therapy twice a week that are impossible to approve.
If you take nothing else from this article, take this. Print it, give it to your therapists, and read your report before submitting it to the NDIS. If you are spending your child’s funding on receiving these reports, then this is the bare minimum that must be included.
What Should Be Included in Therapists Reports for the NDIS
How is the support related to the child’s disability? – what is the impact of the child’s communication/social/living skills/physical barriers on their life? What is it stopping them from doing?
What exact skills has the therapist been working on? – not just “social skills” it needs to state “initiating conversations, taking turns.”
What has been achieved in the past year? – is the therapy working? What is the evidence of this? What can the child do now that they couldn’t do before because of this particular therapy? How has this improved their life?
What strategies has the therapist used? – if it all possible get a copy of the support plan the therapist is using – this provides us with evidence that it’s actually this therapy that’s increased the skill, not just getting older.
What still needs work? – what are the goals for next year? How do you expect to measure them?
How do you intend to work on that? – what’s the plan for next year? What strategies will you use? How will it be different to this year?
What informal supports have been utilised? – have you taught the parents any skills? Has the child joined a sports or social group?
Why is continued individual therapy required? – can group therapy be considered, if not why? Why can’t strategies be used in the home?
The NDIS is new, it’s big and it’s complicated. It can be easy to get caught up or confused by red tape, legislation and all the different information that’s flying around. This article was designed to give some insight and some tips into how decisions and how you can support your child to get the right supports the first time around. I wish you all the best in navigating this system and hope the NDIS can support your child and your family to be happy, independent and have all your needs met.
You can find further information about the NDIS at www.ndis.gov.au.
If you have questions about your child or their plan you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have feedback regarding your or your child’s experience of the NDIS you can email email@example.com.