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01 January 2020

Autism and the NDIS.

Today, we’re answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the NDIS and autism to help you get a better understanding of the supports and services available.

Is autism covered by the NDIS?

If you or your child have been diagnosed with autism, you may be eligible to receive supports and services under the NDIS.

For more information on eligibility, check out our previous story FAQs: All your NDIS eligibility questions answered as well as sections 14, 15, 16 and 17 of the NDIS Operational Guidelines.

Under some previous programs, funding support was based on a diagnosis alone. The NDIS is different. The impact a disability has on a person’s ability to participate in activities or perform tasks (also called “functional capacity”) is an important factor in determining eligibility. This includes communication, mobility, social interaction, learning, self-care and self-management.

My child has autism. Will they be eligible for the NDIS?

A child may be eligible for the NDIS if they meet the eligibility criteria. The pathway to accessing the NDIS differs depending on the age of the child.

For children aged 7 and over: Access to the NDIS is via the general NDIS pathway. Children go through the general assessment and approval process to receive their first NDIS Plan. After that, their NDIS Plan will be reviewed every year or whenever their needs change. You can find out more about How the planning process works on the NIDS website.

For children aged 0-6: Access to the NDIS is via the Early Childhood Early Intervention pathway (ECEI). Refer to the NDIS website page How ECEI works – step by step process for more details.

What types of supports can the NDIS fund?

NDIS supports fall into three categories:

  • Core supports provide direct help with daily living.
  • Capacity Building supports help you build skills for the future. For example, help with finding a job.
  • Capital supports include higher cost assistive technologies such as equipment for mobility and communication.

It is important to set clear goals ahead of an NDIS Plan or Plan Review meeting to help you receive the funding you need.

What are some examples of the therapies and activities funded by the NDIS?

There are many different support programs and therapies funded by the NDIS that can help you or your child live life to the fullest. We cover some of the more common programs below:

Occupational Therapy 
Occupational therapy can assist people with autism to do everyday tasks by finding ways to work within their needs and make the most of their abilities and interests. This may include modifying daily tasks or recommending the right technology for your needs.

Find out more about Occupational therapists: what they do and how they can help you.

Riding for the disabled 
Horse riding is recognised for its therapeutic benefits for people with autism, bringing a sense of calm and supporting a broader range of movement. Riding for the disabled may help to improve coordination and balance, develop strength and improve sensory integration.

For details, check out our article on Riding for the Disabled: How can it help?

Music therapy
Music therapy is a powerful therapeutic tool that can assist people living with autism in a number of ways including improving memory and helping with communication.

Read our story on Music therapy and the NDIS.

How do I know if the NDIS will fund a service or support?

To obtain NDIS funding for any of the above it will need help you achieve your goals as well as pass the “reasonable and necessary“ test. This means the request must be related to your disability, good value for money and likely to be of benefit. Day to day living costs such as groceries, are not considered “reasonable and necessary” supports. More on that here.

My child is on the Helping Children with autism program (HCWA). Can they transition to the NDIS?

In areas where the NDIS is available, funding for both HCWA and Better Start will transition to the NDIS. Once children transferring from HCWA or Better Start have a plan approved under the NDIS, their access to HCWA or Better Start funding will cease. If your child doesn’t meet the requirements to join the NDIS, they can continue to get support from HCWA.

For more information see the Better Start website and the Australian Government’s transitioning program page.

We are here to help.

Here at Leap in! we help people with autism and their families with NDIS-related questions every day.

Call us on 1300 05 78 78, email or sign up to Leap in! plan management today.