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  • Writer's pictureAaron Norrish

What Does An NDIS Support Coordinator Do?

Support coordination under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a crucial service designed to help participants effectively use their plan to achieve their goals. This guide will outline what support coordination is, the different levels available, and how it is distinctly different from plan management.


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What is NDIS Support Coordination?

Support coordination is a capacity-building support intended to assist participants in understanding and utilising their NDIS plan to support their personal goals. It involves connecting participants with NDIS providers, community resources, and other government services, while also building their skills and confidence in managing and navigating the NDIS support system. Additionally, support coordinators connect participants with support providers and community resources to ensure they have access to the necessary services.


Levels of Support Coordination

  1. Support Connection - This introductory level helps participants develop skills to connect with various supports to achieve their goals. It focuses on building the participant’s ability to engage with both informal and funded supports.

  2. Support Coordination - This is a more involved level of service where coordinators work closely with participants to understand and implement their NDIS plans. Coordinators ensure participants access a variety of supports necessary to enhance their ability to manage relationships, live independently, and integrate into the community.

  3. Specialist Support Coordination - This highest level of support is designed for participants facing complex situations. Specialist support coordinators manage potential challenges and ensure consistent support delivery, focusing on creating stable and effective support environments.


Support Coordination vs. Plan Management

While both services aim to maximize the benefits participants receive from their NDIS plans, they serve different functions:

  • Plan Management deals primarily with the financial aspects of an NDIS plan, such as understanding fund allocations, making payments to providers, and enhancing financial management skills of participants.

  • Support Coordination, on the other hand, is more focused on helping participants access and manage their supports effectively, particularly those who face additional challenges.


Funding for Support Coordination

Support coordination is funded through the participant’s capacity-building budget, which is determined based on what is considered ‘reasonable and necessary’. The funding is fixed, meaning participants can only spend up to a specified amount on support coordination services. The level of support coordination included in a plan is based on individual needs and must be agreed upon in the service agreement.


Roles and Responsibilities of a NDIS Support Coordinator

Support coordinators have a diverse range of responsibilities, including:

  • Helping participants understand their NDIS plan.

  • Planning and coordinating supports.

  • Connecting participants to services and maintaining those connections.

  • Managing service agreements and bookings.

  • Coaching participants on accessing supports and navigating potential barriers.

  • Providing updates and reports to the NDIA.

  • Supporting participants in gaining independence and planning for unforeseen events.


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What is a Specialist Support Coordinator

A Specialist Support Coordinator in the context of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plays a crucial role in assisting participants who face complex and high-impact challenges that affect their ability to access and manage their supports. This role goes beyond the regular duties of a support coordinator by addressing specific obstacles that can significantly hinder a participant’s daily functioning and overall well-being.


Role and Responsibilities

A Specialist Support Coordinator is tasked with providing a higher level of support coordination. Their work involves:

  • Deep Understanding: Gaining an in-depth understanding of the participant's unique challenges and needs.

  • Crisis Management: Helping to navigate crisis situations and developing robust plans to manage and mitigate potential risks.

  • Complex Problem Solving: Finding solutions to complex issues that might involve multiple stakeholders, such as healthcare providers, community services, and government agencies.

  • Advocacy Support: While not advocates themselves, Specialist Support Coordinators guide participants towards appropriate advocacy services when necessary, ensuring their rights and needs are adequately represented.


Qualifications and Skills

Specialist Support Coordinators typically have a background in fields such as social work, psychology, or occupational therapy, with extensive experience in the disability sector. They possess strong problem-solving skills, a deep understanding of the NDIS framework, and the ability to work effectively under pressure.


Why It's Crucial

For participants dealing with complex issues—whether they be physical, mental, social, or logistical—a Specialist Support Coordinator becomes indispensable. They ensure that all facets of a participant's support network are cohesive and effectively tailored to meet intensive needs, thus playing a pivotal role in enabling participants to lead more fulfilling and autonomous lives.

Overall, a Specialist Support Coordinator is fundamental for participants who require an intensive and structured approach to manage their day-to-day challenges and long-term goals within the NDIS framework.



Choosing the Right Level of Support Coordination

Participants should discuss their specific needs with their NDIS planner to determine the appropriate level of support coordination. This decision should reflect the participant’s current abilities, the complexity of their support needs, and their long-term goals.


Conclusion

Support coordination is designed to empower NDIS participants by providing them with the tools and connections needed to maximize their plan’s benefits. Understanding the different levels and specific roles of support coordinators and specialist support coordinators is essential for participants and their families to make informed decisions about the support they require.

 

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