Families get into planning as NDIS roll-out approaches

PLANNING: Felicity Wilton, who cares for Bertie, 4, at a farm in Pulletop hopes the NDIS will mean her son can go to school. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
PLANNING: Felicity Wilton, who cares for Bertie, 4, at a farm in Pulletop hopes the NDIS will mean her son can go to school. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

Painting the picture of who four-year-old Bertie is in just 90 minutes is a daunting task for his mum Felicity Wilton.

Noise surrounding the NDIS made its way to the Wilton’s farm at Pulletop near Holbrook about a year ago, but only recently has the family been able to negotiate what it will mean.

Mrs Wilton said since Bertie was four months old, CareWest had been the primary support service assisting her and husband Richard with his care.

“He has a lot of complex needs and basically needs us to do everything for him,” she said.

“They were really the only service providers we could get at-home respite through …. without them, I don’t know where we would be.

“Because of where we live, we’re very much out of both circles of Albury and Wagga and it’s been difficult to get services here.”

While that barrier may or may not be beaten with the NDIS, Mrs Wilton’s biggest hope is for Bertie, whose genetic condition delaying development, affecting vision and causing seizures is yet to be diagnosed, can attend school.

“The NDIS is about promoting independence and for him to be able to go to school would be amazing, but logistically being able to get him to Albury is a big undertaking,” she said.

“I’ve joined a Facebook group, picking up a lot from what is happening in areas where it has already rolled out – the feedback I seem to get is most people are happy with the results.

“There’s a lot that I don’t know about how it will work; all I really know is we need to prepare for a 90-minute phone call with an NDIS panel to explain who Bertie is and what his needs are.”

Helping families such as the Wiltons translate their everyday needs into words has been the task of CareWest disability services communications officer Melissa Thatcher, who has been holding workshops across regional NSW.

“It’s about getting everyone organised for that first step when it starts to roll out in July,” she said ahead of a workshop in Albury on Tuesday.

“It’s about writing down all the things you think you might need assistance with in the next 12 months and the goals you want to achieve.

“After people have their interview, they will be notified their plan has been approved.”

Ms Thatcher said there was still some unknowns about timeframes in relation to packages being cleared.

“I’m not sure how long that takes at this point in time, because it hasn’t been rolled out yet,” she said.

“The NDIS will give more choice over the support that can be received.”

For NDIS advice, contact CareWest on 1300 227 393.