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03 February 2021

LATEST UPDATE: NDIS early childhood supports are changing.

The NDIS is considering making changes to how it provides early childhood early intervention (ECEI) supports.

More than 70,000 young children and their families receive support through the existing NDIS ECEI approach.

The proposed changes are intended to expand early childhood intervention to children under nine and provide more appropriate and timely support to children with developmental delay or disability. Read on for the details.

About early childhood intervention.

Early childhood intervention is the extra support given to young children who need it to help them build skills so they can participate in daily activities.

The approach taken by the NDIS is intended to equip parents, carers and families with the knowledge, skills and supports to meet the needs of their child and assist with the child’s development.

The NDIS has sought feedback from parents and carers and undergone consultation to find evidence of best practice approaches. This information has been used to identify changes to its early childhood intervention approach that may result in better outcomes for children and their families.

Why is a new approach being developed?

  • Some children aren’t receiving early childhood intervention support early enough
  • Some families are unsure about how early childhood intervention can assist
  • Many people are unaware of support options for their child beyond the NDIS.

An outline of the proposed changes:

  • Making early childhood early intervention supports available to children under nine years of age (currently ECEI supports are only available to children under seven years of age)
  • Early childhood partners will conduct independent assessments to determine eligibility and budgets for young children over 12 months of age
  • Enhancing short term early intervention (STEI) – the early support offered regardless of whether a child is eligible for the NDIS
  • Creating a different model for ECEI (from the standard NDIS model) which allows children to receive the right level and mix of support for the right period of time through a family-centred approach
  • Planning and implementation to be more clearly based on best practice supports
  • Assistance with transitioning from NDIS supports into the next stage of the child’s life.

There is also likely to be new guidance released in early 2021 for what is considered ‘reasonable and necessary’ when making decisions on supports for children on the autism spectrum.

There are no planned changes to the current consistent national approach or the tailored supports for your childs individual needs.

Proposed new NDIS approach to early childhood.

The first step for anyone concerned about their child’s development is to check with a GP or maternal and child health nurse. They may refer you to an NDIS early childhood partner or you can contact an early childhood partner yourself.

An overview of the proposed steps involved in the NDIS early childhood approach is outlined below:

  1. Connect with an NDIS early childhood partner.
    They can discuss any concerns you have about your child’s development.
  2. Get some useful information.
    The early childhood partner can provide guidance and information to help you make decisions.
  3. Determine support needs.
    They may conduct assessments and help you understand the services and supports available that may help your child achieve their goals.
  4. Early childhood partner supports.
    Your early childhood partner may link you with local support networks or services, offer a period of short term early intervention if required and help you to apply for NDIS access.
  5. Monitor progress.
    Your child’s progress will be monitored against the goals you set.
  6. Transition.
    Support will be provided for your child to transition out of the NDIS if they no longer require NDIS supports.

If the changes are adopted by the NDIS, the new approach will begin later this year. You can access the paper here and responses are due 23rd February 2021.

Leap in! can help. 

As a not-for-profit plan manager, Leap in! puts people before profit. We help thousands of families across the country to navigate the NDIS including families with young children.

To find out more about the benefits of plan management for managing your NDIS Plan, check out https://www.leapin.com.au/ndis-plan-management/ or call our friendly crew on 1300 05 78 78.

Further Reading

Early Childhood Partners: What they do and how to choose the right one.

Early Childhood Early Intervention.

Questions we’re asked the most about the NDIS and children.