The National Disability Insurance Scheme works with individuals of all ages, and for the youngest among us, they’ve worked with a large variety of Australian early childhood intervention practitioners and researchers to design and develop the ECEI (Early Childhood Early Intervention) approach.
There’s no question that a child’s early years are significant in determining how they learn and develop later in life. This is magnified when considering children who require extra support.
So, how does the ECEI approach fit into the NDIS landscape?
Well, if your child is under 7 years of age, they are classified by the NDIS as “Early Intervention”, which means support comes first through your ECEI partner.
The NDIS can give you the information on who the ECEI partner is in your Local Government Area (LGA) – you can also very easily search their website: https://www.ndis.gov.au/contact/locations
Essentially the overall approach along with your ECEI partner, is designed to identify the type and level of support a child needs to achieve their goals and best outcome. Essentially the ECEI team and your ECEI partner are the perfect people to help you through the process of access, your Plan meeting and beyond. They’re there to help you implement the plan and access the right providers for supports (like therapies).
You’ll also be given the opportunity to select a Plan Manager alongside your ECEI Partner that could help you open up your provider options.
Ok, so let’s go backwards a little before advancing… If your child has the need for support and you’re new to the world of NDIS, here is a great way to start the process of accessing the support they need:
- Consider the functional impact of your child’s diagnosis alongside goals you want to work toward for them. This helps the NDIS understand the supports your child needs to reach these goals.
- Collect evidence (as the NDIS is an evidence based insurance scheme). Things like Doctors reports and any learning / school reports will give you the best platform to get the right kind of support.
Now, let’s look at the ideal ECEI (Early Childhood Early Intervention) process you’ll undertake:
Step 1 of 5 Contact an Early Childhood Partner
Through the NDIS you can contact an Early Childhood Partner if concerns about your child’s development have been raised – start here: https://www.ndis.gov.au/contact/locations
Step 2 of 5 Important information
Every child is different, so your Early Childhood Partner will tailor the information and supports to your child’s individual needs and circumstances. This is a great point to have your ‘evidence’ handy as mentioned earlier.
Step 3 of 5 Understanding your child’s support needs
Your Early Childhood Partner will connect you and your child with the most appropriate supports in your area. This includes the community health centre education setting and playgroup. Short-term early intervention will also be provided where it has been identified as the most appropriate form of support.
Step 4 of 5 Referral services and supports
Your Early Childhood Partner will provide you with information about the supports and services available in your local community to help your child achieve their goals. This support may include:
- Information and linkages to help you access supports and services available in your local community.
- Short-term intervention supports if this is the best way to support your child.
- Where your child may require longer term early childhood intervention supports, the Early Childhood Partner can help you access the NDIS.
Once you have access to the NDIS, your Early Childhood Partner will work with your family to help design and develop a plan that supports your child’s goal and supports you to link with your chosen providers.
Step 5 of 5 Monitor your child’s progress
You Early Childhood Partner will continue to monitor and review your child’s progress against the goals you’ve set. Your Early Childhood Partner and service provides will support your family to improve your child’s independence and participation in everyday activities.
Moving beyond your first Plan, this kind of assessment will mean you have the information you need to adjust or change course to maximise the effect of the type and frequency of the supports your child accesses. This is a crucial part of the process as your child’s needs change and develop.
Our youngest Participant, Mia, is a prime example of an ECEI pathway being used to not only enter the scheme but to exercise full choice and control of providers by selecting Plan Management through NDSP. Taylor is Mia’s amazing Mum and she knew the importance of engaging with the best possible therapist having one in mind who she had researched. Taylor was blown away by the results this therapist had achieved with other kids, the only catch was that they were not a registered NDIS provider. Taylor was thrilled to hear that this is not a roadblock when she chose Plan Management through NDSP.
Watch this space for more on Mia’s amazing progress in the coming months as we feature a little more of Mia’s journey so far.
As you go through the process of accessing support for your child, consider Plan Management as part of your Plan by requesting ‘Improved Life Choices’ at your plan meeting. As Plan Managers we at NDSP are here to make your experience with the NDIS as simple as it can be. For more information get in touch with us via our online form or give us a call on 1800 63 63 77.