5 Ways an NDIS Provider can get you Involved in Your Local Community

As a teen or young person with a disability, feeling part of your community is incredibly important. Taking part in the local community has a raft of mental and physical health benefits and can provide opportunity for social contact, friendship, fun, purpose and physical activity as well as building confidence and self esteem. Feeling a sense of place and belonging are well known and important contributors to happiness and well-being.

As a person with a disability you have the right to be able to access the same services, programs and public events as any other Australian, as an equal citizen. However, depending on your personal circumstances, exercising this right can be difficult without the right support. Connecting with a good NDIS support provider can help you engage in your own community. We’ll look at this in more detail below.

A provider who is experienced in delivering individualised support and that knows their way around the NDIS can also help you get the most out of your NDIS plan (no matter how complicated it is) so you can access the community services and activities you’re interested in.

We look at 5 ways an NDIS support provider can help you engage in your community:

1. Meeting People – Active Engagement

As a teen or young adult you’re probably looking to find your independence as must as possible and to have a fun social life. Like any young person you want to meet like-minded mates and maybe you’d like the opportunity to meet a girlfriend/boyfriend.

An NDIS support provider who specialises in working with young people can help you engage in an active way within the community so you can meet and socialise with people of your own age and interests.  This can include things like: taking part in a sporting or recreational group, going to a gig, joining an special interest  society or hanging out at with a local community group.

If just blending in is important to you, look for a provider that can offer you a support person from your own individual peer group and make sure they won’t be wearing a uniform! Better still choose a support provider that will match you with someone with similar interests that you can connect with. …It’s so much more enjoyable attending a Star Trek convention with a fellow trekkie!

Ask about your support person’s own connections to your community. If you don’t yet know what’s out there that might interest you, having someone that already knows your local community can help you find activities and groups that aren’t on a pamphlet.  

2. Being a Part of Things – Passive Engagement

If you don’t want to join an organised group, but still want to feel part of the world and what’s going on, an NDIS support provider can help with this too. They can assist you to get out and about in your own  community.

You may want someone to help you or accompany you to do things like go to the shops, get books out of the library, attend church, go to the movies etc. which are all about engaging in passive but vital contact with other people.

If you’re looking to engage in your community in a passive way, you’ll probably prefer your support person to blend in so you don’t have to feel on show or like it’s purely a ‘caregiver’ scenario – it’s just two people hanging out and going about ordinary life. If this is important to you, again, make sure you choose a provider that can offer you a support person of a similar age (for example), and that won’t be wearing a uniform or a badge.

3. Providing Physical Assistance 

If you require physical assistance when you’re outside the home, depending on your requirements it can be a barrier to regularly taking part and engaging in the community. If you’re relying on family, the opportunity to venture out to a recreational or purely social activity can sometimes be few and far between. No doubt life is busy enough as it is, and there’s often no time left at the end of the day for extra activities.

If you need help to get somewhere or physical assistance while you’re attending a social event, then your NDIS support provider can make arrangements for your transport and assist you when you get there.

4. Be a Go Between

Sometimes as a young person with a disability you may face barriers if you want to join a club or try a new sport because people may not be disability aware and not sure about how they can assist you or how your inclusion will ‘work’. It can be beneficial to have a support person accompany you to help with the registration and membership process, talk with the people in charge about what you need (if anything), and provide disability awareness for others (only if necessary and if that’s what you want).

This way everyone can feel confident about giving you the exact type of support you need so you can be included on equal terms and have a great time.

5. Be a Link to Friendships

As a teen or young adult with a disability, you may have specific requirements and aspirations centred around your need for social engagement and being part of your community. So, it’s important to choose an NDIS support provider that can tailor their support service to you and your needs. As shown above, matching you with someone of a similar age, who has similar interests can really help you engage with your community the way you want.

As well as providing you with the encouragement and assistance to live your life on your terms within the wider community, being matched with the right support person can provide extra opportunities due to shared interests and a shared peer group.  In time this can lead to a co-valued relationship between you and your support person or mentor.

How to choose an NDS Provider for Teens & Young Adults

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