Earlier this year the NDIS announced that children under the age of 7 who are experiencing developmental concerns will now have greater access to support under the ‘early childhood approach’. The approach allows families to access funded supports if they have any concerns about their child’s development. This means faster access to assistance, and a better chance of addressing any of those concerns and preventing developmental delays from becoming a long term issue.
What is the ‘early childhood approach’?
The ‘early childhood approach’ aims to:
- provide timely support to ensure that you are able to access the supports you need
- give you information about best-practice early childhood intervention supports and how you can help your child
- increase your confidence and capacity to manage and respond to your child’s support needs
- increase your child’s ability to do activities they need or want to do throughout their day
- increase your child’s inclusion and participation in mainstream and community settings like childcare or recreation
- give you information about, and referrals to, other support services if needed, like parent support groups.
How do I access these supports?
Families are now no longer required to receive a referral or diagnosis from a medical professional or become an NDIS participant before receiving initial supports. These initial supports are provided by an NDIS funded ‘early childhood partner’ in your community, and include:
- Linking you with activities in your local community such as a playgroup and other recreational options.
- Linking you with mainstream supports including health services such as maternal and child health nurse, community health, and education settings such as childcare, kindergarten or preschool.
- Helping you understand your child’s development and their needs.
- Helping you develop goals for your child about the activities they want and need to do.
- Building your child’s skills, and yours, in the everyday settings where you spend time together.
- Delivering short term early intervention for children with developmental concerns. These may be individual or group sessions, for up to 12 months, with an early childhood professional such as a speech pathologist, physiotherapist or early childhood teacher.
- Supporting you to apply for NDIS access, if your child is likely to require longer-term supports.
What does this mean for families?
If parents have any concerns about their child’s development, the early childhood approach allows them to access funding to engage services like Leor, including our allied health professionals, to support their child in meeting their developmental milestones.
Early intervention is crucial to ensuring children achieve outcomes in a timely manner and reduces the likelihood of long term developmental delay. Research from Harvard University identified the importance of early access to supports, with later interventions found to be less successful and, in some cases, ineffective. The NDIS paper ‘Young People in the NDIS’ found that the most common type of disability for participants aged 0-6 is developmental delay (48%). By providing access to initial supports without a medical diagnosis or NDIS plan, families can now take the necessary steps in these critical early years of development, without the delays involved in receiving a diagnosis.
Leor has been delivering a unique model of early childhood early intervention that has been achieving positive outcomes for children faster than traditional approaches. We are confident that this NDIS announcement will enable greater access to families to the life changing support that Leor offers, whilst providing long term positive outcomes for their child.
This new approach aligns with the position Leor has taken since its inception in 2018 in advocating for supports that are child and family centric. Leor has seen this holistic approach result in high quality outcomes for children that build capacity in both the child and the family, and are retained in the longer term.
“I applaud this move by the NDIS as it recognises the proven research and benefits of a child centred approach to therapy. It also prioritises ‘time of the essence’ in entry to the NDIS rather than forcing families to be held back by red tape, which inevitably delays their child’s ability to progress in their development at a key point in their brain development” says Managing Director, Andrea Christie-David.
For more information on the early childhood approach, visit:
How can we support your family?
To find out how we can support your child with early intervention under the NDIS click here.