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Submission SUB-C2V3-001188 (Rebecca Shee)

Submission reference
Individual's name
Rebecca Shee
Submission type
General submission
What are your three main problems or concerns with the NDIS?

Access to Post School Further Education.
Students with disabilities do not have opportunities for further education after school, at least not in the ACT, like other school leavers. Students with disabilities often learn more slowly, but can and do, and have not finished learning at 17 or 18 and should have opportunities to continue learning, like all other students. Instead of such opportunities, school leavers with disabilities are funneled into NDIS programs. NDIS programs are not education programs, not staffed by professional educators and are often small, not providing students with dynamic, social learning environments that they need in their transition through teenager years into adulthood.

Cost of Post School NDIS Plans.
The cost of post school leaver NDIS plans must be huge as parents try to find programs to 1. Continue to teach them, 2. Help them find work experience, 3. Help them find social groups, 4. Help them learn life skills. ALL of this could be taught and provided in a dynamic, full time education program at a TAFE.

Accountability of Service Providers.
I have been told my son's 2 year funding expires in 2 weeks after only 1 year. I've requested a financial statement of his plan from his Plan Coordinator, Manager, Services Providers and the NDIS. The services providers seem unable (or hesitant?) to provide a detailed statement of his plan's expendtiure, the NDIS portal doesn't provide this functionality and when I spoke to two NDIS call centre employees, neither understood what a 'statement' was. I explain "like a bank statement, to show everything that has been spent in the last year". They couldn't provide it and it was as if no one had ever asked for this before. This is completely unacceptable. How can I ensure precious Govt funding is tracked, not wasted and spent carefully when I can't get a statement of funding expenditure? I wanted to know - "how much did that service provider charge to go and have a chat with my son, his carers, his family, his SLES program prior to finding him a 3 hours of work experience?" And, how can I request more funding or develop a new plan when I can't access expenditure?

How do these three main problems affect you and/or others?

Students with disabilities need more time to learn academics, vocational skills and social skills - just like ALL young people. I've had to teach my son to read, do maths, speak, tell time as none of this was done at school. (In high school, explicit teaching was stopped). I am of course happy to take on parenting, take him to sport, teach him to cook, shop etc, but why has it been so difficult to get him access to professional educators?

My son is delightful and loves people and being alone all day with nothing to do is just heart breaking. I do not want to waste precious NDIS funding on paying for people to come and hang out with him. I want him to hang out while learning! He loves going to his 3 day a week SLES program run by the Disability Trust (it is good), but this should be extrapolated into a TAFE program - a program that continues to teach academics, teaches vocational skills and finds work experience, students get to go to the cafe and hang out like all other young people.

A comprehensive 2 year TAFE programs would meet their requirements and the students would be taught by educators. (The NDIS service providers are support workers, not educators).

As there were no options post school, I developed a very comprehensive plan outlining my sons challenges and goals and searched for NDIS services. He needed to keep learning money, reading, maths, he needed to mature before completing work experience, he wanted and needed to socialise (he's a teenager is was isolated at home). I had to find random services to meet each of these needs and was told last week that the 2 year funding expires after just over one year.

What do you think are possible solutions to those problems?

I have written a document about "What TAFE Program Could Look Like". A professional program would achieve outcomes for these young people - which is what they need. And, I expect it would be at a much lower cost than all students having $100k per year plans.

COMBINE services - kids with disabilities need to be part of dynamic environments with lots of people...not in tiny private programs with one person. They learn more in mainstream environments.

What parts of the NDIS are working well for you?

I was frustrated about dealing with LAC partner name and the support providers so I went into the NDIS office in (location). They were lovely, responsive, professional and completely helpful. It was such a positive experience. I feel for the staff as I suspect the NDIS gets a bad wrap, but in fact it may be the service providers.

We need to reduce the outsourcing and provide services in house in the NDIS. I work in Govt IT, the most fully outsourced environment and fully understand outsourcing. Service providers first priority is to make money and stay in business - and these goals do not guarantee excellent services. We all know that this is not the case - across IT, Aged Care, Employment Services and NDIS.

Employ and empower NDIS to do more of the service delivery, especially in the plan management space.