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NDIS supports for your child during COVID-19

A teenage boy wearing red headphones sitting in his wheelchair at a park looks at his iPad.

NDIS supports for your child during COVID-19

There are new ways to get support through your child’s NDIS Plan during COVID-19.

COVID-19 has changed the lives of children with disability and their families. Children are now learning from home, support from extended family like grandparents is restricted, many activities have been cancelled and therapy is via telehealth.

All these changes mean that you might want to reconsider how you use your child’s NDIS Plan to achieve their goals.

Flexibility with NDIS funding

The NDIA has announced how the NDIS can support children with learning from home:

  • Support Workers can assist students to do learning tasks that have been set by their teacher.
  • Support Workers can assist students with their disability needs, such as focusing on a task, using a device, reading instructions or recording responses to tasks.

How to use this in your child’s Plan

If you have existing Core funding, you can use this to pay for Support Workers.

If you don’t have enough money in your Core budget, you can ask to move funds from your Capacity Building budget into your Core budget.

If you are running out of funds you can request a review.

Other NDIS changes

  • You may be able to use NDIS funding to purchase a device for your child to access telehealth.
  • You can request Support Co-ordination, even if this hasn’t been part of your child’s Plan before.
  • If your child’s Plan is coming up for review, it will be automatically extended by 12 months at the same level. If you are not happy with your child’s current Plan, you can request a Plan Review meeting over the phone or via video conferencing. You can still have therapists or a support person join the meeting. You will also still need evidence about why any changes are needed.

To make changes to your child’s NDIS Plan, speak with your Support Coordinator, Local Area Coordinator or ECEI Co-ordinator.

If your local contact is not aware of what changes families can make to Plans at this time, contact the NDIS on 1800 800 110 and select Option 5 for the special COVID-19 Planners. 

Our Support Line is also able to help you to advocate for your child. To speak with our Support Line email with the best day and time that we can call you back.

Support Workers

You might already have Support Workers who help your child to access the community, build their independence or who provide respite for your family. If you don’t currently use Support Workers, you may want to start using them now, so that your child can be supported in your home during COVID-19.

It’s important to find the right Support Workers who can provide the extra support your child might need over this period. Think about people outside of your family who your child already knows — an aide from school, people from your sports club or members of your faith community.

If there isn’t anyone in your network, consider using a matching platform service to find suitable Supports Workers.

You can also use a matching platform service to hire someone you already know to be your Support Worker. This means that the matching platform service is responsible for paying them and making sure they are trained in infection control during COVID-19.

Once you’ve chosen a Support Worker, it’s important to set clear expectations right from the start.

Talk openly with them about:

  • What activities you want them to do with your child
  • How you want them to manage infection control. For example, washing their hands when they arrive, maintaining social distancing where possible, and limiting how many other children they work with
  • Your child’s communication style
  • How you want them to communicate with you
  • How to support your child’s behaviour

Safety during COVID-19

It’s important to talk with your child’s Support Worker and service provider about how you want to manage your child’s health and safety.

Everyone must practice good hygiene to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.

This includes:

  • Coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow
  • Washing hands often with soap and water
  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • Avoiding touching your mouth, nose and eyes
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces such as bench tops, desks and door handles

Social distancing is also important because COVID-19 is most likely spread from person to person.

Support Workers who regularly use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when providing support will continue to do so. Access to PPE will be prioritised for NDIS providers who deliver personal care. Currently, this does not include masks as they are not proven in preventing the spread of the disease.

If anyone in your household is sick, you need to let your Support Worker and service provider know. They should also let you know if a Support Worker is sick and provide a replacement, if possible.

Even though many things have changed during COVID-19, Support Workers can still engage your child in a range of activities to help them to achieve their goals while maintaining good hygiene and a safe environment.

For more information

The NDIS is continually making changes in response to COVID-19. For the latest information, see the NDIS website.

Stay up to date with our COVID-19 latest information page.

Read more information and resources about the NDIS.