Choosing the right NDIS WA provider for your teen or young adult will help them get the support they need to live the life they want. But finding and comparing the different NDIS providers, and what they offer, can be a confusing process. Getting the right information and doing your own research is really important.
Below is our summary guide to help you find and assess the right NDIS WA provider for your family. For more information, handy lists of questions to ask and a support provider comparison table to help you assess your shortlist, feel free to download our workbook for parents ‘How to choose the right NDIS Provider for teens and young adults’.
Step 1 – Check your Child’s Plan
Do you understand your child’s plan?
First things first. Do you understand your child’s plan? Plans are written to the national disability insurance scheme (NDIS) formula with line items under different goals and budget areas – it can feel a bit ‘user unfriendly’. So, if you’re confused about any aspect of your child’s plan, get help from your NDIS Planner or your coordinator of supports to understand it.
It’s useful to know that an NDIS WA specialist provider with a history in individualised support can also help you to understand your child’s plan (and even help you to put it into action).
Decide how many providers you want to be involved with – do you need one provider or more?
While you may need to have more than one provider to cover any gaps in a particular provider’s services, you need to make a decision about whether you want to keep as many of your child’s supports together with the one provider as possible, or whether you want to go with multiple organisations to take care of different aspects of the plan. This comes down to how many providers you want to be involved with.
Having many providers means you’ll have to manage several relationships with each of these providers. If this is your preference, consider how you will coordinate them and how their visiting days and times will integrate. Also, think about how having multiple people calling will fit with your lifestyle and family structure. Will it add to your comfort or intrude on your privacy?
For a handy list of questions to ask yourself about how many providers you want to be involved with, download our workbook.
Make a shortlist of potential providers
Your Coordinator of Supports can help you with a list of providers that can provide the services in your plan, or you can visit the NDIS or Department of Communities (Disability Services). Sometimes you can find out about good providers from friends and acquaintances or by searching social media.
Be sure to look at your options, there will be many providers that offer the services listed in your plan – but they are not all the same, and not all providers will suit you and your family.
Once you have your list of potential providers, look for evidence that will indicate if they are for you. Check them out online, visit their websites and look at their social media.
Establish if the prospective provider is registered with the NDIS. Confirm if they provide the core services you need. Check if they work in your area and with people like your child. Find out how long the organisation has been around and how many people they currently support. Also, have a look at any quality reports carried out on the prospective provider.
For more information, check out our helpful blog on how to make a shortlist of NDIS providers.
Step 3 – Assess the Providers
Check them out online
Check out their website – does it have the right feel and does it say things that resonate with you? Take a look at who the organisation leaders are and their background. Do you get the feeling they could be the kind of people you could get along with? Check out their Facebook page, their blog and any other social media. Find out if they are actively writing and sharing useful information relevant to teens and young adults.
Talk with the providers on your shortlist
Talk with each provider on your shortlist and assess whether they can deliver what’s important to your family. Ask about their philosophy and approach and their values. Does this resonate with you? If not, it’s unlikely they will be a good fit.
Your provider should also be able to help your child get what they need as long as its within the scope of the plan and its budget. So ask if your provider can help you make changes within the scope of the plan.
It’s really important to choose a provider that can relate to your child and that understands your family and the stage of life your child is at. Ask if the provider has experience with teens and young adults and their families. A provider’s website may have identified that they work with teens and young adults, but you should establish whether they have a specific interest and demonstrated expertise in supporting young people and their families. Some providers specialise in supports for young children and some focus on supporting older people. You need to make sure that your disability support services provider understands the particular goals and considerations of young people. Ask them to demonstrate they can provide practical support to help your child get the life they really want.
Also, consider if you can develop a relationship with the provider and the people working there and if there is potential for trust. Can you see it working for your family in the long term? You need to make a connection – remember you’re relying on them to get your child the life they want.
For a list of questions to ask your prospective provider download our workbook.
Choice of Staff
This is a huge consideration as your staff can make all the difference. Different providers have different ways of recruiting, so you need to be sure you can get the staff you want.
Can you be involved in choosing your own staff? Ask if they offer tailored recruitment of staff to match your child’s specific requirements and needs, or if they send whoever is available.
Find out how they go about matching staff with the person they support. Do they ask about what you and your family want from your staff? Does the provider ask about physical and social needs, and what’s personally important to your son or daughter?
Ask about the criteria they use to choose a suitable support person for your son or daughter. For example, will they consider the age of the staff? Will they ask if your son or daughter wants someone from their own peer group or if they would prefer someone older? If it’s important to have someone of the same gender? And, are cultural considerations taken into account?
Consider if they are focused on providing a support person that ‘gets’ your child. Are they keen to connect them with someone they can relate to and build rapport with? Have they asked about your son’s or daughter’s interests so they can match them with someone that shares similar interests? Can the staff offer a relationship of influence – someone that can connect with and eventually become a mentor to your child?
Find out how connected the support workers are to their local community. Will they be able to assist your child to achieve a sense of belonging and to take part in their own community, such as participating in local sporting teams or attending local events?
Are your staff ‘your staff’?
Find out if you have the same staff each time they visit to provide your teen or young adult’s support, or will they see whoever is working that day? Will they get to know you and how you like to be communicated with and supported?
Establish what sort of choice and control you will have over your daily schedules. Can you choose the time of day your support worker will come and what they’ll be doing? Ask who will come if your regular staff can’t come and if any changes will be communicated to you. If a change doesn’t work for you, will you have the flexibility to reschedule?
Will your child be respected as an individual?
Just because disability services has moved to an individualised approach, doesn’t mean that all providers understand, and are able to offer, a truly individualised approach.
Consider whether your prospective provider is focused on giving people real choices and putting control in their hands. Will they give your child the support they need to live the life they want? Is their service offering truly tailored to your child’s specific needs? Or are they more into off the shelf packages of services?
Find out how the staff will look after the wellbeing of your son or daughter when they are working together. Ask about the process to ensure staff are properly recruited and inducted. Ask how they are supervised and if they receive ongoing tailored training to support your family.
For additional information, handy lists of questions and a one-page support provider comparison table download our workbook for parents.
Get in Touch
The best way to help you make the choice about which provider is right for you and your teen or young adult is to have detailed conversations with your prospective providers and ask lots of questions.
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? Look for a provider that listens to you and is prepared to help you get there – no matter how long it takes.
To find out more about choosing the right NDIS WA provider to suit your family book a consultation with us.