Disability support can be complicated to organise, particularly if you have a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan with lots of different elements to it.
- Many NDIS participants benefit from support coordination to help them use their plan and some can get specialised services
- Specialist support coordinators deal with complex plans that might involve multiple Government services or barriers to supports
- They make sure your services are delivered consistently and that challenges in your environment are managed
While many people benefit from a regular level of support coordination, some people are better supported through specialist support coordination.
If there are immediate or significant barriers to accessing the supports in your plan a specialist support coordinator can help you to address those barriers and develop a service plan for your supports.
Specialised support coordination explained
Specialised support coordinators have more experience in and knowledge of the factors that impact your funded supports.
They can give you a higher level of support to implement your NDIS funding in the best way possible.
You might benefit from a specialised support coordinator if you:
- Are experiencing homelessness
- Have been staying in hospital for an extended period of time because of barriers to you moving back into the community
- Live in a rural area without many providers or support workers available
- Are involved with the criminal justice system
They can help you to build capacity and resilience, connect with other specialist services either through the NDIS or outside the NDIS and develop a support plan or service plan that is tailored to your situation.
A service plan ensures all supports – either funded by the NDIS or not – work together to help you pursue your goals through processes set out for communication and collaboration.
It helps you and your support network resolve any problems or unexpected situations you come across so that your services can be delivered consistently, even if you are experiencing a crisis.
A specialist support coordinator may help you only for a short period of time. For example, if you live in a rural area a specialist support coordinator might help you for a few months until you have been able to arrange the right providers to travel to your town and deliver supports or until you find providers already operating in your area that will upskill their workers.
The specialist might help you for a longer period of time if that’s what it takes to overcome the barriers in your situation and put you in a position to make the most of your plan.
To get specialist support coordination funded you will need a plan review so that you can request that the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) approve the specialist service and corresponding funding.
You may need a recommendation for specialist support from your local area coordinator or general support coordinator to show the NDIA that you will benefit from the extra funding.
Choosing a provider
The NDIA does not require specialist support coordinators to hold any qualifications in particular, however, to deliver the support you need they should be qualified and experienced in working with people with complex lives.
They may have backgrounds as allied health professionals or workers, or in psychology or social work, for example, and may hold university degrees or tertiary education certificates in those fields.
You will receive the most specialist support if the coordinator you choose has experience in the area that is most complicated for you or where you experience the most barriers.
For example, if the way your mental health supports fit together is complicated it could be important to have a specialist support coordinator with a mental health certificate or experience working in mental health support.
Aside from looking for specialist support coordinators with experience that matches what you need, you can use our general tips for choosing a provider to find one that works for you.
What else would you like to know about support coordination? Tell us in the comments below.