Humans aren't meant to be alone all the time




Disability Community Support under NDIS

The NDIS is very different from the previous disability care and support system, as the scheme:

  • provides lifetime care and support to anyone with a disability up to 65, regardless of where or how they acquired their disability.
  • introduced a nationally coordinated approach to service delivery, meaning that people will not receive different levels of support based on their geographic location.
  • as an insurance scheme, it assures anyone who might acquire a disability in the future that their disability-related needs will be met.
  • puts funding for disability services in the hands of people with a disability rather than service providers, placing them at the centre of the decision-making process and granting more excellent choices and control over the services they receive.
  • allows for a personal planning process, where scheme participants identify their goals and aspirations and supports are put in place to work towards these goals.
  • can fully fund aids and equipment needed by a person with a disability, as long as these aids are considered reasonable and necessary.

NDIS and Disability Community

Community support enabling independence through the NDIS Person-centred practice is at the heart of the NDIS. This means that through the scheme, people with disability will have access to the services and supports they need when they need them. Increased access to services and supports under the NDIS can reduce a person with a disability’s reliance on informal supports such as friends and family. As well as enhancing an individual’s independence, this can also have significant ramifications for the wellbeing of personal relationships.

NDIS and Aged Care System for Community Support

Suppose an individual has acquired their disability before 65 and is already a registered participant of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. In that case, they will have the option of continuing to receive support under the NDIS or transferring to the aged care scheme (My Aged Care) once they have turned 65. Any individual who acquires their disability over the age of 65 or over the age of 65 when the NDIS rolls out in their area will not be eligible to receive support through the NDIS.9 The aged care system has undergone significant reforms over the past few years to align with the principles of person-centeredness that underpin the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Community Support and Individual Services

On the other hand, personal support refers to those individualised services or supports that a person with a disability may require to overcome functional limitations with mobility, communication, daily living or self-care. Personal supports can include:

  • Attendant care support – for example, one-on-one assistance with toileting, showering, feeding etc.
  • Home and community support – assistance with cooking, cleaning, shopping, or garden maintenance.
  • Assistive or adaptive technology – for example, a communication device with speech output for someone who cannot speak, or text-to-speech software to enable someone who is blind to use a computer. Adaptive technology is any system or device that allows a person with a disability to do something they would otherwise be unable to do. Technological advancements have created many new opportunities for adaptive technology to assist people with disability, and there are more solutions available now than ever before. We’ll explore technology further in Topic 5 when we look at augmentative communication.
  • Mobility aids – a wheelchair, a motorised scooter, or a guide dog.

Community Support and Social Barries

Community support acknowledges the extent to which societal barriers limit the participation of people with disability. It articulates the need for mainstream services to be accessible to people with disability to facilitate their full and equal participation in the community. Community supports could include structural modifications, sign language interpreters and other forms of live assistance, braille and easy read versions of information, and accessible bathrooms and entrances.

Disability networks, support organisations and groups for people with disabilities

Contacting an organisation or community group that supports people with your specific disability can be an excellent way to meet people, get advice, and share experiences. Many national and state-based disability organisations run regular support group meetings and social activities. Some may also be active on social media and have online discussion forums to chat with others with the same disability. Many also offer support for families. Self-advocacy groups are run by people with disabilities who have joined together to hear their voices and support each other. They work together to make sure people with a disability have the same rights, choices, and opportunities as anyone else. Investigating these disability groups online can be an excellent place to start.

Belonging to a group or community we can identify with helps us develop a stronger sense of personal and collective identity. It can also boost our self-esteem and willingness to take on the world and make our dreams happen.

Humans are social beings, and the need to belong is deeply ingrained in our nature. That’s why since the beginning of time, humans have been drawn to creating their communities. Today, virtual communities continue to be formed around different shared characteristics, such as religious or spiritual groups, professional associations, neighbourhoods, volunteer groups or sports clubs.

Connection as part of a meaningful community is essential for our mental well-being