Frequently Asked Questions

We have tried to answer most of the frequently asked questions we receive, if you have a question which is not covered please don’t hesitate to give us a call or to make an online enquiry.

What is NDIS?

The NDIS stands for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and is managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). The NDIS is a national ‘no fault’ insurance scheme designed to change the way that disability and early intervention services are delivered in Australia. It is designed to provide coverage, long-term care, early intervention and support services for Australians with disabilities, and their families and carers.

Previously, Disability Service Providers have been funded by the Victorian Government to deliver services based on strict eligibility requirements. They will move to the NDIS.   In Early Childhood Services, State Funded Early Childhood Intervention Service (ECIS) Providers and the National Funded Helping Children with Autism (HCW) and/or Better Start with Disability Initiative will also fall within the NDIS.

Governments want individuals who receive disability and/or early intervention services to take on the astute characteristics of retail customers. This will bring about more discerning consumers who will demand quality services be delivered on their terms – when, where and how they want these. They will look for value for money. Simply put, you will be able to ‘shop’ and ‘purchase’ services and you can leave any service that does not meet your expectations. You are in charge as it is about choice and control.

How do I access the NDIS?

Entry into the NDIS is not automatic. To become a participant of the NDIS, a person must make an access request to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and/or their representative such as a Local Area Coordinator. On receiving an access request, the NDIA (or their representative) will then determine whether the person meets certain access criteria. The criteria include:

  • Be aged under 65 years,
  • An Australian citizen, or
  • The holder of a permanent visa, or
  • Hold a Protected Special Category Visa, and,
  • Have a permanent disability requirements that:
    • Reduces your ability to participate effectively in activities, or perform tasks or actions, unless you have support, and
    • Affects you capacity for social and economic participation,
    • Means that you are likely to require support under the NDIS for a lifetime.
  • Early intervention requirements are
    • Firstly, the person:
      • Has one or more identified intellectual, cognitive, neurological, sensory or physical impairments that are, or are likely to be, permanent, or
      • Has one or more identified impairments that are attributable to a psychiatric condition and are, or are likely to be, permanent, or
      • Is a child who has a developmental delay.
    • Secondly, the provision of early intervention supports for the person is likely to benefit the person by reducing the person’s future needs for supports in relation to disability.
    • Thirdly, the provision of early intervention supports is likely to benefit to alleviate the impact or, prevent deterioration or, improve functionality or, strengthen the sustainability of the informal supports.
    • Fourthly, even if the person meets the above, if the NDIA Planner thinks services could be provided from general systems as part of the universal platform, then you have to use these services. You will not get funding from the NDIS.

The Access Form for Early Intervention requires the treating doctor or specialist complete the Professional’s Report section in Part F of the Access Request Form. Where there is a diagnosis, this evidence should also be provided. If a child’s condition is not on the list of ‘Permanent impairment/functional capacity – no further assessment required’, the family must provide evidence of the impact of their child’s condition on their life, including any impact on mobility, communication, social interaction, learning, self-care and self-management. In these circumstances, the child’s specialist or an allied health professional will be able to assist.

The NDIS Act requires the NDIA to make a decision or request information within 21 days of receiving a complete access request in the approved form. This form can be completed by a representative of the family.

An intellectual disability, global developmental delay and autism spectrum disorders are considered a permanent impairment and qualify for the NDIS.  Spectrum Clarity Access Consultants can help you access the NDIS.

To see if you are eligible for NDIS funding, you can use an online tool called the NDIS Access Checklist.

For more information on eligibility, please visit the NDIS Website or contact the National Disability Insurance Agency on 1800 800 110


How does planning for services work in the NDIS?

The NDIA (or their delegate) will work with the parent about your child’s needs and goals, and aspirations. To help plan for this meeting, some questions to think about are:

  • How your child would like their life to be in a few years and what they would like to change.
  • What your child, you or your family and friends can do achieve their goals and objectives.
  • What supports your child has to help them, including family, friends and other informal supports, as well as mainstream, community and disability supports.
  • What is stopping your child from achieving their objectives?

Your plan will be based on reasonable and necessary supports that you require to meet your needs and achieve your goals. Goals will be matched to support categories and each category included in the plan will have a budget to purchase supports. The NDIS will not replace funding that should be provided by education, health, transport and other community services.

The NDIS funds support under three categories:

  • Core funding: for day to day support required, such as personal care.
  • Capital funding: for purchasing one off items such as equipment, technology or modifications.
  • Capacity funding: for skill building, training and learning.

Funding under the NDIS is not means tested.

This means, preparing for your meeting with the NDIA Planner (or their delegate) is important! You will need to so be prepared! We can help you at Spectrum Clarity, so give us a call.

You may also want to look at the website NDIS4Kids as this provides a lot of information for Families of Young Children.  However, it is always good to talk to someone who is able to walk the journey with you, and this is what we can do at Spectrum Clarity.  Spectrum Clarity is an Approved Provider with the NDIS for Plan Management and Support Coordination.


How do I manage the plan?

Once your plan is approved, you will also need to decide how you will manage your Plan. The options are:

  • Manage the funds yourself
  • Nominating someone else
  • A Plan Manager (such as Spectrum Clarity)
  • The NDIA, or
  • A combination of the above options.

The NDIA Planner will also ask you how you would like to implement the supports. For example, will you need assistance too?

  • Find Providers?
  • Contact Providers and even interview them?
  • Decide which Provider will deliver your support and services?
  • Make agreements with the Providers about how your support and services will be delivered, known as a Service Agreement?

Spectrum Clarity can help you with all of the above as we are an Approved Provider with the NDIA to provide the following services:

Support Connection – short term support to assist you to identify your Provider of choice and develop a service agreement that is fair and meets your needs.

Support Coordination – if your needs are more complex, and you need some support to work things out as well as implement your plan. This support is still time limited but provides a broader role than support connection.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopment disorder which cause substantial impairments in social interaction and communication. There are associated repetitive behaviours and unusual interests as well as many people experiencing unusual ways of learning, paying attention and/or reacting to different sensations.

Under the DSM-5, the three separate diagnoses (Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and PDD-NOS) have been merged into one single diagnosis, known as Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The diagnosis of ASD will be given on the basis of difficulties in two areas: Social Communication and Restricted and Repetitive Patterns of Behaviour Interests and Activities.

DSM-5 requires that a severity rating be applied to both domains of impairment, ranging from Level 1 – Requiring Support to Level 3 – Requiring Very Substantial Support.

Clinicans are able to diagnose two or more disorders (co-morbidities) (such as ADHA, anxiety disorder, specific language disorder) to allow for a more comprehensive description of an individual’s presentation.

What can autism look like for someone?
  • Challenges with communicating and interacting with others.
  • Repetitive and different behaviours, moving their bodies in different ways.
  • Strong interest in one topic or subject.
  • Unusual reactions to what they see, hear, smell, touch or taste.
  • Preference for routines and dislike of change.
  • Autism can affect the way that individuals interact with others and how they experience the world around them.

Autism Victoria (AMAZE) provides a good overview and Spectrum Clarity would refer you to their website. However, a summary is as follows:

  • Every individual on the Autism Spectrum is different – no two are alike.
  • Secondary conditions and difficulties are associated with autism. This may include speech and language difficulties, intellectual disability, sleep problems, attention problems, epilepsy, anxiety and depression, difficulties with fine and gross motor skills.
  • Some individuals on the autism spectrum may feel as if they are bombarded with sensations. They might have a preference for visual learning and may learn in different ways to others. Some might have challenges with social communication, meaning that they miss nuances and jokes, and make literal interpretations of what is being said. Some individuals may be able to live independent lives while others will always need assistance and support.



What is Asperger Disorder?

Under the old DSM-IV Manual, Asperger Disorder had its own diagnosis, indicating that the person had severe and sustained social impairments, but impairments are not as severe in language and communication. A person with Asperger Disorder is usually in the normal intelligence range.  Under the DSM-5, Asperger Disorder has been removed.

DSM-5 states that “individuals with a well-established DSM-IV diagnosis of autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified should be given the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder”.  This means that people diagnosed with any of the three autism spectrum disorders under the DSM-IV criteria should received a diagnosis under DSM-5, ameliorating many people’s fears that the new manual would mean a loss of a diagnosis for those previously diagnosed, particularly with Asperger Syndrome or PDD-NOS.

For more information about Aspergers please have a look at our page titled What is Aspergers?

What is PDD-NOS?

Under the old DSM-IV Manual, PDD-NOS had its own diagnosis, indicating a person who presents with some of the characteristics of either Autism or Asperger Disorder, significant enough to affect the individual’s everyday functioning but not sufficient for a diagnosis of either of these disorders. Under the DSM-5, PDD-NOS has been removed.

DSM-5 states that “individuals with a well-established DSM-IV diagnosis of autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified should be given the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder”.  This means that people diagnosed with any of the three autism spectrum disorders under the DSM-IV criteria should received a diagnosis under DSM-5, ameliorating many people’s fears that the new manual would mean a loss of a diagnosis for those previously diagnosed, particularly with Asperger Syndrome or PDD-NOS.

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