People living with a disability and their carers need to start preparing for the introduction of the NDIS, according to local service provider Vision Australia.

 Service engagement consultant Sally Edwards said navigating the new system could be daunting at first, but advance planning would ensure people got the most out of it.

 “Planning needs to start well before the NDIS is rolled in out in 2019,” Ms Edwards said.

 “The NDIS puts the client in the driver’s seat, so they have a lot more choice and control over the services they use.” 

 “That can be a challenge because it’s a different way of thinking about accessing services, and some people are used to having others manage it for them.”

 “But it’s important that people don’t bury their heads in the sand and start the process soon – and ask for help if they need it.”

 Ms Edwards said Vision Australia had developed a planning guide to help people through the process of applying for the scheme and preparing a support plan.

 “The NDIS looks at every aspect of people’s lives, and we want to make sure they get all the services and equipment they need to improve their quality of life,” she said.

 “If something isn’t mentioned in their plan, they might not get funding for it. Things like a white cane, magnification devices for reading, home visits from an occupational therapist, or social support programs could easily be forgotten if people don’t do any pre-planning.”

 “To get people thinking about what they might need, our planning guide asks people what they do from when they get up in the morning to when they go to bed, what support and services they currently have, and what would they’d like to do that they currently can’t.”

 Ms Edwards said people under 65 year’s old who are blind or have low vision could make a time to talk to her, even if they weren’t a Vision Australia client.

 “We can help them through the whole process,” she said.

 “We don’t just focus on the person’s vision needs, we talk to them about all areas of their life to include the full picture in their plan.”

 To make an appointment, contact Vision Australia Mildura on 03 5023 9500.