If you have a plan under the NDIS, you and your child must choose a provider (or providers) to carry out the designated supports in your plan. But with so much to consider, choosing an NDIS service provider can seem a bit daunting.
Not all NIDS providers are the same – they come in all shapes and sizes with different strengths and weaknesses. Not all providers work with teens and young adults or have the experience and understanding of the unique needs of this group.
So, where do you start? It’s a good idea to make a shortlist of potential providers that provide support to teens and young adults. Then, you’ll need to speak with the providers on your shortlist to get an idea of their approach and style.
First, establish and be clear about what you and your teen or young adult need the most. Then, make a list of questions, and don’t be afraid to ask as many as you like. Remember it’s your plan and your choice.
Also, when you’re speaking with your prospective provider, pay attention to whether they are happy to answer your questions. Are they respectful, patient and focused on you? Are they able to provide clear and informative answers that tell you what you need to know?
To start you off, here is a useful list of questions you may wish to ask your prospective NDIS provider:
- Is your prospective NDIS Provider registered with the NDIS?
- Do they offer the services you want?
- How long has the organisation been around?
- How many people do they currently support?
- Who are the owners?
- What is their background?
- What is their approach or philosophy to the provision of support?
- Do they start by finding out what your teen or young adult wants out of life?
- Are they focused on giving your child control of the life they want?
- Do they ask you about, and listen to, the outcomes you are looking for?
- Does the provider consider you an important part of the support team – do they value the information and opinions you offer?
- Will they work in partnership with you and your family and help you understand what you need to do to help achieve the life you want?
- Are they able to be sensitive to, and cater for, any cultural considerations?
- Who is on staff – are they experienced in working with teens, young adults and their families?
- Do they understand (and have experience with) the transition stages that teens and young people go through – for example, school to work transition ?
- Will your teen or young adult see the same support person each time, or will they see whoever is working that day?
- Are they able to offer a support person with similar interests or that can connect with your child and become a mentor? Can you be involved in choosing your staff?
- What sort of choice/control will you have over daily schedules? Can you choose the time of day your support worker will come?
- Is staff turnover low or high? Do support workers typically stay around long enough for your child to become comfortable with them?
- How connected are the support workers to the local community? Will they be able to help your child integrate and take part in their own community, such as participating in local sporting teams or attending local events?
- Ask to see any ‘quality reports’ carried out on the prospective provider.
For further insight into how to find the right provider to support your son or daughter read our blog ‘which support provider is the right fit for my family’.