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Improving the approach for early childhood

Lisa Paul: I'll go online now and I've got a question for Judy. "I'm a parent of a young child with disability, what does this mean for me?" 

Judy Brewer: Oh gosh, what a good question.

And it's a question I probably would've been asking if I was sitting in the audience not on the screen. If we do our job properly, this review will mean a better life for you, or your loved ones. And a better community, because we will have a more inclusive society. It's a big aim and we have taken this very seriously.

For me being on this review panel comes from being a parent of an autistic man, who's turns 30 this year, who was once an autistic child. And I would never want anyone to go through what we have been through in those 30 years, in giving him the life that he wanted and now has. So we have come...

The scheme, the NDIS is a scheme that has the chance to reform and transform lives. But it's only a part of the equation. So many of our families need more than that.

They need the education system reformed, they need the health system reformed, they need housing, they need mental health, they need understanding, they need inclusion, they need acceptance. It's a very big aim.

So the review's job is to get the NDIS right, and to explain that we need more than the NDIS, for the NDIS to work. So I hope we are delivering that for you. And I wish you all the very best. I know you'll have an... Your child will be not only an awesome child, but one day an awesome adult like my son.

Through our engagements, we have been hearing that the needs of children with disability are not being met through the current approach and ecosystem of supports.

We want to make sure children with disability and their families are getting the supports they need. Our ideas for change are to:

  • Identify children with developmental concerns, developmental delay or disabilities as soon as possible, so they can get the supports they need.
  • Provide support locally, in the communities where children live, learn and play.
  • Ensure that the supports are family-centred and based on best practice evidence and principles to give these children the best start in life.
  • Offer much better support for families, because we know children thrive in families which feel well supported.

A key part of the new ecosystem should be community wide foundational supports for children, located in mainstream and community settings. They should be delivered in everyday settings such as their home, school and in their communities.

These foundational supports will be fairer because they will mean that all children with developmental concerns, delays or disability are supported whether or not they need an individual support packages through the NDIS.

Judy spoke about this in Newcastle. She talked about how if we do our job properly, this will mean a better life for our loved ones. And getting it right means a better community because we will have a more inclusive society.

“The NDIS has the ability to transform lives, but it is only part of the equation. So many of our families need more than that. They need the education system reformed, they need the health system reformed, they need housing, they need mental health. They need understanding, inclusion acceptance… We need more than the NDIS for the NDIS to work.” Judy answered.

Public submissions available to view

The NDIS Review panel would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to make a submission. Many comments, discussions and submissions commented on children and early childhood.

Don’t put children on the NDIS have an early intervention program for supports. With the main goal is that the children don’t work towards not needing the supports. Obviously there will be some children that will continually need supports and they are the ones who should progress to the NDIS first.


I cannot state strongly enough how crucial early intervention services are for children with disabilities. In their school life, for their social life, family life, our in their communities. Children with developmental, neurological, physical, social emotional disabilities- with life long permanent implication’s require support understanding and inclusion.


For parents and carers faced with the prospect of a lifelong disability for their child, it can be very overwhelming as they are dealing with their own grief and shock.

Anonymous carer

"Children are Missing Out. As a result of inconsistent planning, children often miss out on vital, evidence-based early intervention."

Anonymous participant, advocate, non-government Organisation

Change systems in early childhood and schools to make accommodations and set up more support services and playgroups for children with a disability or neurdivergent children/parents.

Anonymous carer, LGBTIQ+

View the submissions published to date at the NDIS Review website - submissions page.

We need to make sure they have access to universal services just like other kids. Then for those who need more supports, it will be through the scheme and individual packages just like it is today.