515 days? Is that all?
Only a minute ago the NDIS seemed like years away for most of us. Now, the rollout of the NDIS is promised to start in 2016, to be completed by 2018. And because at this stage nobody knows where it will roll out first (after the trial sites), we all have 515 days to get ready.
Over the past 2 years I have worked with hundreds of people with disability, their families and allies in many, many workshops across NSW. I have also worked together with many services getting ready for the NDIS.
Below are my three 'must do now' tips for consumers and for service providers based on what I have learned over the last two or so years:
For people with disability and families/allies:
It seems to me if you enter the conversation with NDIA with what's available, you walk away with no more or even less than what you get now. When you walk in there with what's possible, then the NDIA will only be part of those possibilities and other options might open up over time.
2. Plan. Plan now and plan bigger than the NDIS.
Plan for a good life and all its different parts. Make sure your life is bigger than the funding available; no amount of government funding with give you a happy, fulfilled life. Money sure can help, but if it becomes the only answer, life is likely to be pretty bleak. Bishop Tutu said to be human is to be in relationship with others. Make sure relationships are in your plan, maybe even at the centre of your planning.
3. Speak up and make sure your voice is heard.
If you are not so great at speaking up, use the next 515 days to practise. Practise everywhere you can. Maybe if you want to start speaking up about something that is done to others (sometimes people find that easier), practise when it doesn’t matter so much and then start practising when you really care. Get the practice in, work out what works ok and what doesn't work at all, maybe get a buddy who can give you feedback. Get people around you who can assist you with speaking up (but not take over!)
For service providers:
There is a lot we do know and while the details might change (they almost certainly will) the key elements are clear: how much money will be in the scheme; how much will be paid for certain services; how many more people are estimated to be eligible. One thing is for sure: people will definitely have more control and choice, and over time people will exercise this choice and control more and more.
2. Listen to people, like really listen.
Listen to people with disability, their families and allies. Listen to your frontline staff and your volunteers. Listen for what's possible and listen for what makes things hard for people and listen for solutions
3. Have integrity in everything you do
Don’t say things you don’t really believe in or you can’t really deliver on. Have integrity and if things go wrong (and of course things go wrong sometimes) make sure you clean up afterwards. Have integrity in everything you do and use that integrity to build relationships and support people to imagine a good life.