This NDIS booklet can help you prepare for the planning conversation.
When it comes time to commence planning, there may be a preliminary ‘information gathering call’ and then a planning conversation This may all happen in the same call – It may differ across regions. Most people will receive a call from the agency which has been appointed as the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) agency in your region. However if your child has been identified and offered early entry into the NDIS (ie before the rollout to your area) or if your child has been identified as having complex issues, you are likely to be contacted by the NDIS.
You may be happy to have a planning conversation by phone. If they ring you at an inconvenient time, say so and ask to arrange a more suitable time when you can be sitting quietly at home with no distractions. The planning conversation may take up to 2 hours.
If for whatever reason you do not want to have the planning conversation by phone, let them know that you would like a face to face meeting.
It is a good idea to have a friend or advocate with you. As much as anything it can be a lengthy process and having another person there to hear the conversation, or help you take notes, can be really helpful.
Let the planner know that you have completed a planning booklet and can send or email that to them (remember to keep a copy). You can also provide them with other documentation such as reports, a Carer Statement, etc.
And always take notes. You will deal with lots of different people in the NDIA, and it is really useful to keep track of who said what. Keep an exercise book handy to note the date, who you speak with, where they are from, and the nature of the conversation.
The planning conversation is based on a series of questionnaires. The planner or LAC will use a laptop or ipad to record your answers. There is no provision in the NDIS process for participants to review a draft plan and ‘sign off’, so if you can – during the planning conversation ensure that the planner or LAC is capturing your responses accurately:
- If you are doing a face to face meeting, ask to sit next to the planner so you can see how they record your answers, and adjust if not accurate
- If you are doing a phone meeting, ask the planner to read back your answers as you go along
The questions are designed to explore the impacts of your child’s disability on their function. Examples of questions – Can you walk a kilometre? Can you follow 3 step instructions? Can you cook?
In thinking about how you respond – consider –
- ‘What does this look like for my child on a bad day or in a new environment or if they are with unfamiliar people?’
- ‘How does my child function compared to a typical child of the same age?’
These can be difficult questions to consider and may raise your emotions. Remember that the amount of support your child gets will be determined in part by what you say in response to these questions, so it is important to paint an accurate picture.
They will also ask you about household income which is probably used for demographic information and performance indicators. NDIS funding is not means tested and you do not have to answer this question if you don’t want to. If you don’t answer your child’s funding will not be affected.
What happens after the planning conversation?
After the planning conversation you will receive your child’s plan.
You will be given details to access your child’s plan and funds in the NDIS online portal, which we will talk about later, and you will be advised that you can start using the funding for the agreed supports and services.
What if there isn’t enough funds in the budget??
- If you think the budget is insufficient or something has been left out, go back to the planner and have a discussion straight away. There is some opportunity to amend the plan without having to proceed to a formal review process.
- Regardless of whether you think the budget is sufficient or not – start spending the funds for what it was intended. If you wait for the outcome of your query or have to go to review your child will be missing out on supports that they need. (more about the review and complaints process in Workshop 4 – Advocacy)