Preparation and Support Meeting helps Ben
Ben’s life has been far from ordinary. The 24 year old is a passionate gamer and lover of all things innovative, and he’s just moved back to Australia with his family after they spent fifteen years living overseas. They have lived in Hong Kong and the USA. He and his family arrived just as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) began rolling out in their new local area. Ben and his mum, Marie, decided to come for a Preparation and Support meeting with Cerebral Palsy Alliance to explore their options. We spoke with them before and after the meeting.
Before heading overseas, Ben was a regular at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Ryde site receiving therapy services as a child and young adult. On returning to Sydney they turned to the organisation they knew and trusted. “It’s been good to be able to ring Cerebral Palsy Alliance and someone on the other end of the line able to help us,” said Marie. This wasn’t always the case for the family when living abroad.
Right now Ben’s hobbies include computers, martial arts and spending time with his family, and while he is enjoying the lifestyle he is looking to gain more independence. With a basic understanding of the NDIS, Marie and Ben ventured into the Allambie site to meet with Client Services Coordinator Courtney Buckingham.
“We have completed some research on the NDIS and have an understanding of the concept. We are looking forward to this meeting because there are some questions we have that are a little outside the box because we have been overseas for so long,” said Marie.
While the NDIS website has been a great source of information, it’s the face-to-face direction they are looking for to support them moving forward in the process. The pair are also looking for guidance on where Ben can get started with therapies and services now he is home.
“I have no idea what is and isn’t available to him as an adult and he has even less because we have been overseas for so long.” Ben hasn’t received therapy services in Australia since 2001 and his needs as an adult have changed, especially around his goals.
When asked specifically about being nervous, the pair seemed hungry for more information and the next steps. “I don’t know enough about the NDIS to be nervous so far. Right now it’s about finding out what he can access and how he can access it through the NDIS,” Marie said.
Ben is also stepping up and taking responsibility during this process. He’s not really nervous more focused on finding out what he needs to do. It wasn’t long before Courtney arrived and we left them to work through the comprehensive process that makes up the Preparation and Support Meeting. We caught back up with them at the end of the session and they were feeling much more prepared and informed about what they needed.
“That was a good meeting,” Marie said as she nodded to Ben. “I’m much clearer about what we need to do now and where we are supposed to be heading. We have got some ideas around his goals, and working on them is going to be our focus after leaving today.”
One of the important parts of the NDIS plan are the goals, something Courtney spent time supporting the pair to understand and start to shape. “The session highlighted that we need to get clear about his goals. It was also great to find out that there are programs and services at Cerebral Palsy Alliance that he can connect into once he decides on his goals.”
But that wasn’t the piece of information that they were leaving with to help them prepare for the NDIA planner meeting. “We also worked out what key information we need to collect and have ready for the NDIA planner meeting. We feel better prepared knowing what we need to take and who we need to ring to get it” she said.
The NDIS often requires an up-to-date doctor’s report, something which they don’t have since they’ve moved around so much. “Now we know which forms to get and who to talk to… it’s nice to know where we’re heading” said Marie.
Ben is taking it all in his stride, focusing on going with the flow and making sure he still gets to do his favourite hobbies.
If you would like to find out more about how the Cerebral Palsy Alliance can help you make the most out of your NDIS plan, call 1300 888 378 or visit https://www.cerebralpalsy.org.au/services/ndis/preparation-and-support-meeting/