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Young man fishing from the front of the boat in a inland river

Thinking Outside the Box for Rural NDIS Supports. I am just back from 3 days attending AGQuip in Gunnedah. What an awesome rural event! We were lucky enough to be invited to share a site with The Land newspaper, and had some valuable conversations with country folk with lived experience of disability. 

It was one of those memorable conversations that has prompted what I want to write about today.

We all know that services are lacking in rural and remote regions of Australia. Even some metro areas have service gaps, severely limiting choice and control for people accessing the NDIS.

What happens if you need a support worker and cannot find anyone suitable? What is your next step?

I was recently speaking to a mum with an autistic son in his early 20’s who had expressed dissatisfaction of being supported by an older female carer, and consequently spent a lot of time in his room playing computer games. Being from a small rural community formal support choices were not that thick on the ground (same old story).

Having a self-managed NDIS plan allowed the mother to think outside the square. Her logic was that if she wanted her son to be doing what others his age were doing, he needed a carer his own age. After a discussion with her son, she asked the ‘nicest boy’ from her son’s previous high school year if he was keen to work as her sons support worker in his university holidays. All he needed was an ABN, which was easy enough to get.

This arrangement was a huge win for both boys who spent a lot of time fishing, and was very straightforward NDIS payment process wise.

What a great solution! Keeping in mind, they come from a small rural community and the mum had known the young carer and his family for many years.

In this situation, you are the employer, so it’s your decision around what qualifications you feel comfortable with or without. In this case, the young man did not have any specific medical considerations, so mum was comfortable to hire someone with no formal qualifications.

It is also important to note that direct family members of NDIS participants are not eligible to be employed in this way.

Until next edition……


Angela Van Den Berg
Community Engagement 
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