When you talk with your NDIS planner they will talk to you about the supports your child has in their life. The NDIS uses four categories to understand what type of supports these are.
Informal Supports- These are the supports in your family and friend network. When thinking about these supports, it is important to think about the ways in which they support you. For example, you may have your sister as a support, however she may live interstate so she is not a physical support for assisting when needed but offers you emotional support. The NDIS does not pay for this support.
Your informal support network will change over time for children. For example, most parents will accompany their young children to social events, this is a natural support that parents do with all their children. However, as children get older, most typical teenagers do not want their parents to accompany them. At this point it is reasonable for you to start thinking about stepping back from providing this informal support for your teenager who has disability, and engaging a paid person to support them instead. This becomes a reasonable and necessary support.
Community Supports- This refers to the activities and services offered in your local community –library, cafes, gym, shopping, local events etc. These facilities and amenities are available to all members of the local community. The NDIS does not pay for these facilities (e.g. gym membership) but they can fund supports to access community activities.
Mainstream supports - these are typical supports for any child of the same age such as maternal child health nurse, hospitals, education, playgroup and sport and recreation. The NDIS does not fund mainstream supports such as they are funded by other departments.
Reasonable and necessary funded supports - Reasonable and necessary supports are those funded by the NDIS to help a child/participant reach their goals and aspirations in a range of areas that are impacted because of their delay and/or disability. A few examples of many may be your child’s allied health therapy supports, continence products, equipment, disability support worker to assist with your child’s community engagement.
Image #1 is a way of mapping your supports. Putting your family at the centre, start to work through the circles of support from your closest family and friends right out to supports with services that may be funded in your plan. This may be a helpful way to see what supports you have, what areas you would like to build on and how reasonable and necessary supports could strengthen your families network.