You have been approved for the NDIS, so now what? It can be difficult to navigate the system, find, and organise services that you need and fit within your plan or you may feel like you don't have the skills to go it alone and would prefer some assistance.
A support coordinator will help you to understand and implement the funded supports outlined in your NDIS plan
There are three types of support coordination: support connection, support coordination and specialist support coordination
You can request support coordination no matter how you choose to manage your NDIS funds
Many NDIS participants choose to receive funding specifically for a support coordinator to help implement the funded supports in their plan while also being educated on the process and learning what is involved.
What does a support coordinator do?
A support coordinator will assist you to understand and implement the funded supports outlined in your NDIS plan and link you to community, mainstream and other Government support services.
They will also help build your ability to exercise choice and control, to coordinate supports and access your local community.
Support coordinators will help you get the most out of your NDIS funds.
Other services that a support coordinator can assist with include:
Finding disability housing or accessible housing (link to accessible housing article)
Educate parents and carers about being informal advocates and helpers
Achieving personal goals and developing your skills
Receiving appropriate services that benefits your needs and work within your plan
Help find education or employment
Make their clients understand their responsibilities that fall under service agreements with provider
Types of support coordination
There are three types of support coordination. It’s important to know the difference when looking for a support coordinator and how they can best complement your needs and service requirements.
Depending on what your goals and plan objectives are, your plan may provide NDIS funding for one of the following support coordination options:
Support connection: connects you with informal, community and funded supports to enable you to get the most out of your plan and meet all of your personal goals. Generally, support connection encourages clients to strengthen their own support coordination.
Support coordination: to help build the skills you need to understand and use your plan to its fullest. A support coordinator will work with you to make sure you have a mix of supports to increase your ability in maintaining relationships, manage your service delivery, and helping you live as independently as possible.
Specialist support coordination: is a step up from support coordination. It benefits people with more complex needs and requires specialist support. A specialist support coordinator manages any challenges in your support environment and ensures the delivery of services. Most specialist support coordinators are qualified occupational therapists, psychologists or social workers.
How to find a support coordinator
If you would like to have support coordination funding included in your plan, you will need to request this at your planning meeting or during a plan review.
There are registered support coordination providers available to search for online.
A Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) partner can assist in finding a support coordinator.
Check out the Disability Support Guide Provider Finder for support coordinators, LACs or ECEIs in your State or Territory.
To find a good support coordinator, it’s important to ask questions about the services they will be providing.
Remember, a support coordinator is meant to help you achieve your goals and you should make sure they have the capacity to do that.
Asking questions like the ones listed below can help you decide whether the support coordinator you're considering is the best for you.
Some questions to ask can include:
What is their experience as a support coordinator?
What is the cost for their services and what does it include?
Can they give you examples of how they have helped other participants make the most out of their supports
If down the track you decide to switch support coordinators, will a notice period be needed before an agreement ends?
Do they understand your goals and what you want to achieve?
Do they understand the level of your disability and what supports will be good for you?
What if I want to self-manage my plan?
You may decide to manage your own plan and coordinate all of your funded supports yourself.
That is a perfectly acceptable decision to make and you are able to exercise choice and control in what services you receive.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will provide all of your funding directly to you and you can implement the supports you want that fits within your plan’s budget.
You may want to consider using a support coordinator for a period of time to help you understand what is involved and learn how to self-manage your plan on your own.
Support coordinators are a helpful guide in navigating providers, so if you decide to self-manage your NDIS plan, you can still request support coordination.
Do you have support coordination in your plan? How has it benefited you? Share your experiences in the comments!