Leap in! Plan manager, Tabitha, at the office with a headset on
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04 July 2023

Ask a plan manager: Autism and the NDIS.

Here at Leap in! we’re often asked questions about autism and the NDIS, the Early Childhood Approach, NDIS Plans and the types of supports the NDIS may fund for autistic children.

With years of frontline experience at Leap in! HQ, Tabitha is the perfect person to answer some of your most frequently asked questions.

A note about language: After seeking input from our community, at Leap in! we’ve chosen to use ‘identity-first’ language. We know there are different opinions on this and that people may use different language depending on what they’re comfortable with.


Is autism covered by the NDIS?

Yes! 54% of people on the NDIS under the age of 18 and 35% of participants overall are autistic. But not every autistic child will be eligible for the NDIS.

To be eligible, a child must meet both eligibility and disability requirements.


What help may be available for my autistic child?

The pathway differs depending on your child’s age.

Children under nine are supported via the Early Childhood Approach (previously called Early Childhood Early Intervention). For children that are younger than seven a formal diagnosis is not required to access these supports. If you are concerned about the development of a child aged 0-6, the easiest and fastest way to get help is to contact an Early Childhood Partner (ECP). A referral is not necessary. You can search for an Early Childhood Partner via the NDIS website.

Children aged seven and over must have a diagnosis to continue to receive early childhood supports. Your child needs to meet the NDIS eligibility criteria and you’ll need to complete an access request. Proof of diagnosis and evidence of the functional impact of their disability are required. Once this process is complete, your child will be supported by an ECP up to the age of nine.


How does the Early Childhood Approach work?

Under the Early Childhood Approach, an ECP assesses whether early childhood supports may be effective, provides recommendations for early intervention and connects you with relevant services or programs. They will also assist with an NDIS access request if necessary.


What can I expect from early childhood supports?

Early childhood support focuses on capacity building and therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychology and speech therapy. These services are provided free of charge. Parents are generally responsible for taking their children to appointments or activities and supporting them during attendance.


Will my autistic child automatically get the NDIS when they turn 7?

Eligible children aged seven years and over need to meet the eligibility criteria to continue to receive support. This process is not automatic and differs depending on the situation. Eligibility requires a diagnosis and evidence of significant and permanent disability. It’s best to apply at least six months before your child turns seven to ensure there’s continuity with supports.


What can the NDIS fund for autistic children?

The therapies and supports funded by the NDIS differ from person to person. Your child may receive funding in one or more of three categories.

  1. Core supports that help with consumable items and daily living
  2. Capacity Building supports such as therapies that develop new skills and build independence
  3. Capital supports for high-cost assistive technologies like mobility and communication aids.


Can I use my 8-year-old’s NDIS Plan to pay for night nappies?

Yes, if it is reasonable, necessary and related to your child’s disability. The NDIS will fund everyday items when because of a disability, a child needs things that other children their age don’t. In this case, you can purchase nappies or pull-ups from the Consumables budget within your child’s Core supports funding.


My 13-year-old autistic child struggles to make friends. What can the NDIS help with?

If your child has a goal to make new friends in their NDIS Plan, the NDIS may fund supports to help them participate in social and recreational activities, learn new skills and grow confidence. This would be funded under the Capacity Building supports.


I’d like to try a weighted blanket for my child. Does the NDIS cover this?

The NDIS is not satisfied there is adequate research or evidence that weighted blankets are effective or safe for young children, so it will not fund weighted blankets.


How Leap in! can help.

Are you getting the most out of your child’s NDIS Plan? Are you struggling to keep on top of invoices and NDIS admin? Leap in! can help.

Call us 1300 05 78 78 or email crew@leapin.com.au to speak with one of our team experienced in working with families on the NDIS and the Early Childhood Approach.

If you’re looking for a not-for-profit plan manager, you can sign up with Leap in! today.

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