It might be a well kept secret. But we see time and again that when we produce assessment reports with evidence, the NDIA increases funded supports across the wide range of areas applicable to NDIS Act 2013 “reasonable and necessary” supports. The learning is not totally clear cut because the Agency has had such vast political swings that have appeared to bias the funding review processes.
But where all things are equal, specialist reports detailing disabilities, and the actual needs that individuals have, seems to produce results. In several cases over the past few years, we have seen clients take our reports to legal tribunals and other bodies to address what they felt was funded bias by the NDIA. We are told that our reports helped to provide some of the core evidence of need against the NDIS Act 2013 and 2018 Behaviour Support Rules and guidelines.
All these points of feedback provide us with a sense of where our work sits within the national scheme. As we now work across states, we are able to see the sameness and differences in people’s experiences of the funding and support profile that the NDIS provides, or as the case may be, fails to provide.
One of the lessons we see is that our high quality and experienced specialist behaviour support reviews map an All-Of-Life picture of a person’s needs and capacities. As we take a strength-based approach, our reviews are balanced and still speak clearly to the critical needs profiling that the NDIA requires. In so many psychology-based reviews we see people treated and named in clinical and negative terms by their diagnoses and conditions. We seek to provide the labels but we do not allow these to limit our ability to articulate a person’s strengths and capacities.
A really solid NDIS disability needs review speaks to both what a person can do and what they cannot do without help or support. To miss either side of this mapping is to have an unbalanced view. Funding needs to also be thoughtfully applied to areas of actual need, and part of that profile is to support people in the areas they are capable to perform whether independently or with basic, moderate, or high level support. Any good functional behavioural assessment will be an All-Of-Life mapping of capacity and needs.
What we have found is that the NDIA very often do not give people the funding they need in the first place to seek the assessments that they really need to clarify and justify further funding across the range of support categories. It is also not clearly identified that very often Behaviour Specialists are in the best role to provide a comprehensive assessment given how behavioural and relational areas touch every aspect of lifestyle, family, work, health, and environment.