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Shane, Scott and Leigh get out in the local community

Shane, and Scott have been Nextt clients for a number of years, living together in one of our Supported Independent Living houses.

Unfortunately, the funding they were receiving prior to NDIS was extremely limited. It was not enough to deliver any supports to their families and it was not matched to help them meet their individual needs and goals.

Two years ago, Shane was in hospital with pneumonia and struggling with his health. He also had changes to his diet where he required vitamised food. Both Shane and Scott required one-to-one supports if they wanted to take part in any community activities.

Nextt Support Coordinators Eddy and Barbara worked together with their families to ensure their NDIS plans were reviewed and to make sure they were receiving the right funding. As a result, additional funds were approved and allocated by the NDIS.

With additional funding, they can now take part in community activities and get much more out of life.

When Shane left hospital he could not walk for a few months, and it took a lot of work to normalise his life. He would retreat into himself and was not interested to engage with others. Over the last year, his quality of life has improved enormously.

Both Shane and Scott now get extremely excited when they get the opportunity to engage with others.

Pictured here are Shane, Scott, Leigh and their support workers at their recent days out at the Big Rocking Horse and the Toy Factory in the Adelaide Hills and at the St Kilda Adventure Playground.

As you can see by the look on their faces – they had an absolute ball.

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‘It is a real privilege being allowed into someone’s life.’ Hear support worker Paula’s story.

When Paula was studying tourism at university in Peru and later working in customer service for Aeroperú, she could hardly have imagined that in the years ahead, her life would take her to Australia and a completely different path.

She migrated to Australia in 1988 and for the past 19 years, has been working as a support worker helping others improve the quality of their lives by providing both emotional and practical support for individuals and their families.

Paula doesn’t really think of her role as work, it’s more a vocation. As she says, ‘I believe very strongly that this is what I am meant to do, at this time in my life.’

Paula’s primary motivation for beginning her career as a support worker came after the death of her parents.

I couldn’t look after my parents in their final years (because they were still living in Peru), but I decided I could be there for other people’s parents and their family members when they needed me most.

Perhaps Paula’s career change isn’t that surprising given she sees herself as an ‘absolute extension’ of her own parents and her lived experiences.

We all cared for my grandfather in his final years. Dad would return home from his job as an accountant every lunchtime, carry grandad from his bed to the bathroom and shower him. My mum would then dress grandad and I would carefully prepare and feed him his lunch – I had to take great care with this task as grandad was always so impeccably dressed.

When her grandfather eventually passed away, Paula never forgot the many ways her parents preserved his dignity, physical and emotional wellbeing right up until the end.

Although Paula says she has noticed changes in her work over the years, the core of what she does remains the same.

I let people know, that no matter what, my job is to protect the dignity of the person in my care. Sometimes it’s just about sitting next to someone, holding their hand and reassuring them that I am there for them.

One of Paula’s other key roles is to remind her clients about life’s small joys. Much has been written about the power of music and sometimes when words fail, music provides a way for a person to connect with others and engage with memories and emotions.

Just recently, Paula learned that one of her regular clients used to love singers like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald. Her client had often spoken to her of the big bands and dance halls of her youth, when big bands dominated the jazz scene in Australia and around the world.

So, armed with this important information, Paula bought some CDs with this exact type of music. The result – many joyful karaoke sessions and a more engaged, happier and responsive client.

At other times, Paula has learned that the simple act of helping her clients organise their lives often helps them regain a sense of independence. From first-hand experience she argues

We all need structure in our lives and this is particularly important for people with brain injuries.

Paula just loves helping people get their lives in order and is adamant that setting up a weekly timetable outlining social activities, appointments, rest periods and rehabilitation is central to improving the cognitive and emotional challenges faced by some of her clients.

Unsurprisingly, Paula is adored by the people she supports. She still has a thank you note given to her in 2011 that she keeps on her dressing table as a daily reminder of the importance of her work. It says,

I want to take the time to let you know that you are an amazing angel. You are caring, and your professionalism is such a high standard. Never forget how much you are appreciated.

Paula loves her work and says it is a real privilege being allowed into someone’s life. Her advice to others considering this line of work is simple,

Do what you love and follow your heart; it’s not really a job being with people who need you – it’s a gift.

For more information about how we can help you start or built your career in healthcare, please visit https://www.nextt.com.au/careers/ or call us on 1300 369 568.

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Nextt’s client Jack talks Mental Health

Fear can be crippling! It can keep you awake at night second guessing every noise you hear and can certainly make you question everything. For 28 year old Jack Kerswill, dealing with paranoia and hallucinations for over a decade is now becoming easier with the help of disability service provider, Nextt.

Jack was diagnosed with schizophrenia and advanced post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at only 18 years old. He currently lives independently in a public housing unit in Morooka, Queensland and has previously worked as a horticulturist and in information technology (IT).

Jack says for many years he went through life dealing with hallucinations of aliens abducting him, which had a destructive effect on his social life, including the loss of his job.

“For many years I was very quiet about it until I went to a doctor and was referred to a mental health clinic. It took a while to diagnose but they knew something was up,” he explains.

“When I got diagnosed I was working and I think they kind of new something was up because I was going through a lot of emotional issues from my childhood.

“My boss let me off and I was really upset about that as I felt like my job was kind of what
made me ‘me’.”

He says the sudden loss of employment took an emotional toll.

“When they put me on Newstart I felt like I was a burden and not contributing to society.”

Jack describes the diagnosis as a “big relief”, but says it was also met with denial.

“Now I can actually see that even though it seems realistic to me, it’s not real.”

Initially, Jack found it difficult to accept the help he desperately needed as the hallucinations and paranoia felt so real and kept him up at night, but it was his sister who encouraged him to reach out to a mental health specialist.

“Your brain is so powerful, it knows how to ‘get you’,” he explains.

“I would never sleep at night due to the paranoia.

“I go to work, go home and play games all night and once it hit night time, it was absolutely destructive.

“I would have these episodes where I was hallucinating constantly, hearing voices and seeing things.”

After the first episode Jack was admitted to hospital for a week with fear taking a gripping and lasting effect.

To help overcome his mental health challenges, Jack enlisted the help of Nextt through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to improve his independence and reassure him the things he was hearing and seeing weren’t real.

“In the mornings I get two hours of support and an hour at night, across a range of tasks such as cleaning the unit, travelling to doctor appointments, accompanying me to the shops, learning to cook new food, travel training and taking medication,” he explains.

He says Nextt have truly helped him conquer his fears and learn a variety of life skills.

“I could never cook and would always get takeaway, but now I’ve learnt to cook a lot of different foods.

“I used to live in a pigsty, but now my place is one of the cleanest you’ll ever go to.”

“On the bus I would hear voices in my head and wasn’t sure if I was saying it out loud, so a Nextt support worker would reconfirm I wasn’t saying anything and taught me to focus on
different things.”

Jack says he was taught ‘grounding’, a type of meditation to distract your focus when experiencing anxiety, paranoia or hallucinations.

He also says Nextt have helped him achieve his main goals of getting back into employment, losing weight and being able to support himself by overcoming his fears.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am for pushing me this far.”
Jack says the disability service provider is flexible, uses a client-centred approach and describes the Nextt team as “lovely.”

With the huge stigma around mental health and the social and employment challenges it poses, Jack says he wishes more people understood that mental health conditions are acquired in a number of ways.

“Just because someone has a mental health condition, it doesn’t mean they have done something stupid to get poor mental health.”

It is with this understanding, Jack hopes more people will ask for help when they need it.

“Don’t be ignorant … just ask for help!”

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Five ways to benefit from disability support coordination

When it comes to disability support coordination, there are so many things to consider. From thinking about what goals you or your loved one want to work towards, to finding out what services actually exist and how much funding is available to you, a lots of work goes into getting the help you need.

One of the easiest ways to streamline this process is to go through a NDIS provider that offers disability support coordination services. Here are five benefits of choosing Nextt who can take care of your NDIS support coordination.

1. Help get your individual plan started
The NDIS is a goals-based scheme that recognises the individual needs of each participant. That’s where individual plans come in. Your individual plan will set out the goals you or your loved one want to work towards, allowing you to access NDIS funding to achieve them.

At Nextt, our support coordinators are here to help you get started on your individual plan. We can help you with deciding on some of the goals you want to work on, as well as putting your actual plan together. We also take care of all the paperwork to help you access your NDIS funding, to make sure you get as much value out of the NDIS as possible.

2. Work with you to develop skills and resilience
Achieving your goals is much easier when you have a strong support system around you. At Nextt, your support coordinator will become a key member of your team that’ll work with you to develop the skills and resilience you need to become successful. We’ll check in with you or your loved one at regular intervals to make sure you’re on the right track and developing in a way and at a pace that’s right for you.

3. Help to find and access mainstream services
Disability support coordination goes much further than just helping you access NDIS funding. At Nextt, we take a holistic approach to helping our clients get more out of life. From enrolling in an education course to finding a job, our support coordinators can help you find and access a variety of mainstream services.

4. Assist you in finding appropriate disability housing
Another aspect of our holistic services is to ensure that our clients have a safe place to call home. For some NDIS participants who require 24/7 in-home supports, our Nextt support coordinators can help you find a suitable home where you can get all the help you need. As Australia’s largest provider of disability housing, we have vacancies across the country, including Sydney, Newcastle, Geelong and Ballarat.

5. Support your parents and carers
At Nextt, we know that clients with a great support system are more likely to be successful in achieving their goals. That’s why we provide support to parents, carers and other family members who support our clients every day. One of the ways we do this is to provide parent training, so parents and guardians know the best way to help their children succeed in achieving their NDIS individual goals.

To find out more about how Nextt can help you or your loved one through NDIS disability support coordination, contact our specialist team today for your free one hour consultation.

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Eight ways the NDIS can help you and your loved ones

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides funding for people with disability to get the help that they need to lead happy, dignified lives. As everyone is unique, so too are their goals and needs. So, how does the NDIS help people with disability achieve their individual goals?

The NDIS provides a range of personalised services to help people with disability live independent lives. The NDIS also provides support to participants’ families and carers, to help participants strengthen their support system and connect with their community.

Here are eight ways the NDIS can help you and your loved ones.

1. Information and referral
For many people with disability, support starts with having easier access to information. Through the NDIS, you can access information about the most effective support options, referral to the relevant support services, help to build individual capacity such as diagnosis advice, as well as links to local support coordination, clubs, associations, initiatives or programs.

2. Individualised plans and supports
As the NDIS is a goals-based program, the things you want to achieve and skills you want to build will be unique to you.

With so many people participating in the program, how does the NDIS help participants achieve their individual goals? The key is through individualised plans and supports.

You can access NDIS funding to plan your goals and aspirations, access programs or services to help you achieve your goals, as well as to manage your individual plan. The NDIS also provides support to families and carers, so that you have a strong support system to help you achieve your goals.

3. Early intervention
We know the earlier people with disability can get support, the better chance of success they have.

So, how does the NDIS help children with disability? Through funding early intervention programs that give children with disability the best possible start to life.

4. Funded supports
Depending on the goals of your plan, you may be eligible for funded supports. This could involve choosing support providers for ongoing support programs, such as the Nextt Steps Program, or for one-off costs, such as buying a new wheelchair.

5. Housing
Affordable, stable housing is key for helping people with disability achieve their life goals and aspirations. As housing policy is handled by State Governments, it’s common to ask ‘how does the NDIS help with housing?’ The answer lies in providing ongoing support for daily living, which may include some housing costs or setting up a new home for a group of participants with 24/7 in home support.

6. Assistive Technology
The NDIS also provides funding for assistive technology. This is defined as ‘any device or system that allows individuals to perform tasks they would otherwise be unable to do or increases the ease and safety with which tasks can be performed.’ These may include devices such as mobility canes, wheelchairs, hearing aids and bed rails.

7. Auslan Translation Services
NDIS participants with hearing impairment may require an Auslan translator interpreting and translation services in activities of daily life. Pending your needs and individual support plan, these Auslan services may be covered by the NDIS.

8. Support to access community services and activities
How does the NDIS help people with disability connect with the community? Through covering the cost of services like specialised transport or holiday camps that are already available in your local area.

For more information about how the NDIS can help you and your loved ones, be sure to check out the Federal Government’s NDIS website.

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Four things you probably didn’t know about disability housing

At Nextt, our aim is for all our client to live happy, independent lives. For many adults with disability, this means taking a step towards independent living. Disability housing is a great way to achieve this goal.

Here are four things you probably didn’t know about disability housing in Australia.

There are many different types of disability housing

There are misconceptions around what disability housing is and what it looks like.

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Five reasons why we believe in NDIS capacity building programs

The NDIS funding model is based on a capacity building framework and approach. What does that mean, and what is capacity building? NDIS capacity building is the process in which individuals develop their skills and abilities to perform functions, solve problems, set and achieve objectives, and understand and deal with their development needs in a broader context and in a sustainable manner. This approach empowers the NDIS participant to facilitate their own personal development, moving from the person whose ‘capacity is being developed’ to the ‘capacity builder.’

Here are five reasons why we believe in NDIS capacity building.

It focuses on the strength of the individual
Capacity building shifts the narrative around disability services from a deficit, needs-based model to an abundance, strength-building model. This allows participants, their parents and carers, as well as disability service providers to approach disability services with a growth mindset. Building on the strengths of participants, rather than focusing on their disability, empowers participants to become life-long learners.

It takes a holistic approach to the provision of services
At Nextt, we know that people need time and on-going, long-term support to reach their goals. We also know that it takes a multi-disciplinary team to help participants reach their full potential. The NDIS capacity building framework uses a variety of strategies and tactics at the individual, organisational and systemic levels that make it sustainable and effective. From teaching life skills like cooking, to developing vocational skills in the workplace, capacity building overcomes multi-dimensional barriers to achieving goals and wraps a multitude of services around an individual.

It’s empowering
One of the best things about the NDIS capacity building programs is that they empower participants. The aim of capacity building is to show participants that with proper planning, execution and support, they can achieve something that they set their mind to. This shows participants that they can have an influence over their environment and actively create their own future.

It teaches problem solving skills
NDIS capacity building programs necessitate the development of problem solving skills. They take a problem-based approach that acknowledges participants as life-long learners, who will continuously learn new skills as they encounter new challenges. Participants play an active role in setting their own goals, choosing the right development strategies for themselves, and reflecting on their own progress. At Nextt, we’ve seen how this helps participants grow in confidence, as well as ability.

It prepares NDIS participants for real life
As NDIS capacity building programs grow the skills and capabilities of participants, they better prepare participants for real life. Focusing on developing self-care skills, communication and contributing to the household and community, capacity building aims to help participants lead independent lives and better participate in society.

For more information about what is capacity building, what it means for you, and how our capacity building programs, such as Nextt Steps, can help you or your loved one, contact the Nextt team today.

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How to apply for NDIS funding

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been a major initiative designed to help Australians living with disability access the support they need to improve their quality of life. Knowing how to access the funding available through the scheme is important for anyone assisting someone with a disability.

What is NDIS funding?
NDIS has meant that people with disability can now get the ongoing support that they need to lead happy, independent lives. However, understanding the NDIS funding eligibility requirements can be a bit tricky. That’s why we’ve put together this helpful checklist to give you the information you need to get the help that you deserve.

Here are our four easy steps to accessing NDIS funding.

1. Work out if you have NDIS funding eligibility

To become a participant in the NDIS, you or your loved one must meet the following eligibility criteria:

Have a permanent impairment that significantly affects your ability to take part in everyday activities, or have a developmental delay
Be less than 65 years of age when you first apply for the NDIS
Live in Australia in an NDIS area on a specified date
Be an Australian citizen or hold a permanent residency visa

2. Know what you’re entitled to

There are 15 different categories of NDIS funding, all of which cover assisting participants in achieving different outcomes. It’s important to read up on what you are entitled to through the NDIS.

The types of assistance you may be able to access if you qualify for NDIS funding eligibility include:
Access to information and referrals
Support to access community services and activities
Individualised support plans
Early intervention programs
Assistive technology

3. Get your paperwork together

Aside from the usual confirmation of identity and place of residence, there is a bit of paperwork involved with accessing NDIS funding eligibility. Much of it is in regards to providing evidence of your disability or your child’s developmental delay. You should work with your healthcare practitioners to fill out the relevant paperwork regarding your diagnosis and ongoing needs.

4. Go through a support provider

One of the easiest ways to go about accessing NDIS funding is to go through an NDIS approved early intervention or support provider. At Nextt, our Nextt Steps Program is an approved NDIS core supports provider, which helps participants build skills to go about their daily lives, become more independent and participate in the community. We can also help with support coordination to help you or your loved one build your individual NDIS support plan.

So, whether you need NDIS funding autism support, or any other disability condition, get in touch with our helpful team today for a free one hour consultation to find out how we can help you and your family access NDIS funding.

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Local area coordination NDIS success stories that we love

As a specialist in local area coordination NDIS support, the team at Nextt pride themselves on helping empower people with disability. One of the things we love most about our jobs is seeing our participants grow and transform their lives. Here are three ways our programs have helped participants thrive, according to our NDIS local area coordinators.

1. Living independent lives

One of the key objectives of all our local area coordination NDIS programs is to help participants lead independent lives. With her adult daughters having flown the nest, 48-year-old Sandra Cooper lives alone in Merryland, New South Wales. When her eyesight began rapidly deteriorating due to a genetic eye condition known as Aniridia – which eventually rendered her completely blind in her right eye – she knew she needed some help.

With her loss of vision, completing simple tasks around the home and in the local community became quite difficult, so she enlisted the help of Nextt. Through Nextt and our NDIS local area coordinators, Sandra receives support coordination and direct support services including community access and domestic assistance, as well accessing home modifications through the NDIS and Housing Commission so she can cook her own meals independently.

“With the NDIS, in a short space of time going from seeing to not seeing … the support has helped dramatically.”

For 58-year-old Elizabeth Sherar, living with Cerebral Palsy and juggling a full-time job often meant that she had to rely on her parents to help her with errands. Thanks to the support she received from Nextt – which was funded as part of her National Disability Insurance Scheme plan – Elizabeth has been able to access the community and get travel assistance. With the help of her NDIS local area coordinator and other Nextt staff members, Elizabeth has been able to do her own shopping and banking, as well as get out into the community and go to places like the zoo and the cinemas.

“It’s been fantastic because I don’t have to rely on my parents as much and now when I go to the bank, they know me, just like when I go shopping I go into certain shops… It’s the best thing that’s ever happened.”

2. Connecting with the community

Many people with disability experience isolation due to lack of access and mobility. At Nextt, we love seeing our participants become more connected to their communities. With the help of our local area coordination NDIS specialists, our participants are able to socialise with others and pursue their passions.

For Elizabeth, her Cerebral Palsy has made it difficult for her to travel comfortably on public transport, which has prevented her from socialising with others. Thanks to her Nextt
travel assistance support, Elizabeth can safely and comfortably get to where she needs to be, as a passenger in cars owned by her support workers.

An avid fan of music from the 40s right through to the 80s, Elizabeth enjoys bonding over her passion for music.

“I listen to the local radio station in Melbourne in the eastern suburbs and they’re so intrigued with my music knowledge… Next door to the station there’s a little cafe, so once a month one of the presenters invites me up there to have a coffee and discuss music and the station,” she says.

Being able to connect with her support workers and the presenters at the radio station has been a joy for Elizabeth, and is something she really looks forward to each month.

3. Creating the change they want to see

At Nextt, our local area coordination NDIS programs empower participants to create a positive change in their own lives. Perhaps one of the greatest markers of our success is when our participants help others within their own communities.

For 47-year-old Sandra, this meant helping other people living with vision impairments. After noting a lack of social activities for people over the age of 40 who were living with vision impairments, Sandra realised she wanted more opportunities for social interaction – and that others must feel the same. Through speaking with her NDIS local area coordinator, Sandra was able to partner with Vision Australia to establish her own ten-pin bowling group for people with vision impairments. The group, which attracts roughly seven members for each gathering, meets once a month for a friendly game at the bowling alley, followed by a cup of coffee.

“I really look forward to it,” says Sandra.

For more information about our Nextt NDIS local area coordinators and our support coordination services, get in touch with our friendly team today.

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NDIS Core Supports: What you need to know

As a person with disability, or a parent or carer of a child with disability, it can be tricky to understand what support is available to you through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The NDIS takes a goal-based approach to funding and services, meaning the services available to you or your loved one will vary depending what you need help to achieve.

What are the NDIS support categories?

Of the 15 support categories of the NDIS, the NDIS Core Supports consists of four funding categories that help you or your loved one develop foundational life skills, which help you with daily activities and community participation.

Here’s what the four NDIS Core Supports aim to help you or your loved one achieve.

Assistance with Daily Life

The first of the NDIS core supports, Assistance with daily life aims to empower people with disability to make household decisions, look after their personal care and complete other domestic tasks, including cooking and cleaning.

Accessing Transport

The ‘Transport’ category of the NDIS core supports helps cover transport costs associated with specialised schooling or education programs, reaching your place of employment or participating in other community or recreational activities.

Accessing Consumables

Consumables is a support category that helps cover the cost of everyday items and services, including interpreting and translating services, as well as help with continence and home enteral nutrition.

Assistance with Social and Community Participation

Assistance with social and community participation covers activities or courses that help participants socialise and connect with others. These could include art classes, sports coaching and vacation camps that have capacity building, mentoring, peer support or individual skill development components.

At Nextt, we have a range of services available that help participants build these foundational skills and are covered by the NDIS including: Support Coordination, Core Supports, Capacity Building, Supported Housing and Attendant Care. Our services help individuals develop functional and meaningful skills to increase participation in everyday life. We can help you or your child build self-care, meal preparation and social communication skills – and so much more – from the comfort of your own home.
Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you.

If you’d like to learn more about how the NDIS works, we’ve got 10 tips to help you access NDIS funding.