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04 July 2019

Dietitians: what they do and how they can help you.

Allied health professionals are important people to have on your team when it comes to achieving your NDIS goals.

Today, we continue our series on allied health professionals and what they do by taking a look at dietitians.

For a reminder of how some of the other allied health professionals can help you, check out our previous stories:

What does a dietitian do?

If you are thinking that a dietitian is someone who works with diets and food, then you are right! Dietitians are specialists in food and nutrition. They provide expert dietary advice that can contribute to your overall wellbeing. 

Dietitians support people of all ages who are affected by a range of disabilities and conditions including people who:

  • Experience difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • Have a disability that contributes to eating difficulties such as Down Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy
  • Are overweight or underweight
  • Have food allergies or intolerances
  • Have gastrointestinal or bowel conditions
  • Are required to use non-oral feeding methods such as tube feeding
  • Are affected by chronic disease.

How can a dietitian help?

Getting the right nutrients to fuel our bodies helps us to stay healthy, strong and active, as well as reduce our risk of chronic illness.

Many people with a disability experience nutrition-related challenges which can make it difficult to stay healthy.

A dietitian may be able to assist with:

  • Menu planning and dietary advice
  • Overcoming mealtime stress or anxiety
  • Improving your independence when it comes to getting the right nutrition
  • Helping you find the right diet if you are overweight or underweight
  • Assisting with the management of food allergies or intolerances.

A dietitian will usually ask questions about what you eat and how often, your lifestyle, overall health and food-related goals. They will work with you to develop a plan to achieve your goals.

Dietitians and the NDIS.

When it comes to working with a dietitian, it is important to distinguish between health issues, which are not covered by the NDIS, or disability issues, which may be covered by the NDIS.

For example, if your disability causes a problem with your ability to chew and swallow, then you may be able to obtain funding for the support of a dietitian through your NDIS Plan, if the request is considered “reasonable and necessary”. 

Read our guide on on What is considered “reasonable and necessary”?

The relevant NDIS budgets for working with a dietitian are: 

  • Core supports

Assistance with daily living budgets provide support for regular personal activities and supervision of personal daily tasks. This can include assistance with meal preparation.

Consumables budgets cover the purchase of everyday use items which may include feeding sets, dispensers/syringes, feeding tubes and accessories, nutrition formula, oral nutrition supplements and food thickeners. 

  • Capacity Building supports

Capacity Building supports help build your independence and skills to help you reach your long-term goals.

If a dietitian will help you achieve one of your NDIS goals, such as making your own meals or choosing healthy food to eat, you may be able to use funding from your capacity building budget to work with a dietitian.

We can help.

If you think a dietitian may be able to assist you to live your best life, it will also help to set some related goals for your next NDIS Plan meeting.

The Leap in! mobile app (and new web app) has a dedicated section for setting and managing goals which will make preparing for your meeting easier.

If you would like to find out more, call the Leap in! Crew on 1300 05 78 78, email or sign up to Leap in! plan management today.