By Association for Children with a Disability
To get the supports you are asking for in your child’s NDIS Plan, you and the professionals who are involved in your child’s life need to provide evidence of your child’s needs and the care you provide. These tips and advice from Association for Children with a Disability will help.
What is good evidence?
Good evidence is information from professionals about your child’s needs. It can include:
A summary letter from your GP or paediatrician
This is a short letter stating your child’s diagnosis and the date they were diagnosed, the impact it has on your child’s life, and what support they need. It should also state that the disability is lifelong. It can include information on what will happen if support is not continued or provided. The doctor needs to have known your child for more than six months to write a summary letter.
Reports from therapists
These reports focus on how the disability impacts your child’s capacity to do everyday things and include recommendations for support that will help them meet their goals.
Assessments from therapists
These assessments are done by people such as occupational therapists, speech therapists and psychologists. They assess how your child is going compared with children of the same age without disability.
This can include checking your child’s motor skills, communication skills, hearing or vision, and how they understand information. (Some appointments for the assessments are covered by Medicare but there may be an out-of-pocket cost.)
All the information you provide as evidence should be current and not more than two years old.
It’s ok to ask for your planning meeting to be postponed if assessments and reports take longer than expected. It’s important the NDIS has all the information to get a clear picture of your child’s needs.
How can I make sure the reports are useful?
GPs, paediatricians and allied health therapists should write reports in a way that supports NDIS planning.
Report recommendations need to include:
- How they relate to the child’s disability
- How they will help achieve your child’s goals
- How they will increase or maintain functional capacity and social and economic participation
- How they are evidence-based and value for money
Make sure reports are accurate
Read all reports to check they are accurate and easy to understand. If you have multiple therapists they should be working together. Make sure their reports don’t contradict each other.
Ask for any corrections to be made before you give your documents to the NDIS. You can also ask for a summary paragraph at the start of the document.
Keep a copy of all information you give to the NDIS, Early Childhood partner or Local Area Coordinator (LAC). If you email information through, ask for confirmation it has been received.
Evidence that what you do is above and beyond parental responsibility
Often parents of children with disability provide a much higher level of care to their child when compared to a similar aged child without disability.
The NDIS will look at whether your child’s needs are greater than those of a similar aged child because of their disability. They will consider what the NDIS can provide and what support is normally provided by parents.
Information from families is one of the most important sources of evidence that the care you provide is greater that what is normally considered parental responsibility. Choose a way to record this information that works best for you.
This can include:
- A spreadsheet recording how much time you spend caring for your child. Make sure you include all the administrative tasks involved with your child’s care
- A detailed diary describing the care you provide over 24 hours or over one week
- A video of how caring for your child is different from caring for a child without disability
- A timetable of what a week looks like, including appointments
You can also ask your child’s therapists to include in their reports information about the additional care your child needs compared with a child without disability of a similar age.
Evidence for respite and support for your family
A Carer Statement is really good evidence of the impact of caring on your family as a whole. It’s a great way to highlight your family situation, such as being a single parent, having other children with disability or caring for elderly parents.
This information is reproduced with permission from the Association for Children with a Disability (ACD) who’ve been advocating for children with disability for more than 40 years. Visit acd.org.au