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If you have questions about your child’s development or they have a disability, your child may be eligible for support from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The NDIS is how the Commonwealth government provides support for people with disabilities, their families and carers. It's run by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).
For an Easy English version of the NDIS and your child's school, download:
Get support from the NDIS
The type of NDIS support your child gets depends on their age and your family circumstances. You or your child may get:
- support and advice
- information and linking to community based supports or
- access to early intervention.
How to access the NDIS
To find out how to access the NDIS:
Providing information on your child’s disability
When you apply for the NDIS you will need to provide information about your child’s disability or their need for early intervention. Your child’s school can help with this. This may include:
Schools can only provide information that already exists, they cannot arrange for new assessments or reports.
You do not have to tell the school that your child is an NDIS participant if you do not want to.
Support in schools
Your child may already be getting support in school through the PSD. This program gives government schools extra funding to help them teach students with disabilities and high needs. If your child gets support from the NDIS, this will not affect their PSD support.
What support the school is responsible for
Schools are responsible for supports for your child’s learning at school, including:
- teaching, learning assistants and other supports such as Auslan interpreters
- general support, resources and training for teachers, tutors and other staff
- therapy delivered in schools for education or training purposes, such as allied health practitioners
- aids and equipment to make the curriculum accessible, such as modified computer hardware, software and Braille textbooks
- school building modifications such as ramps, lifts and hearing loops
- transport for educational or training activities such as excursions, field trips and sporting carnivals.
If your child is an NDIS participant this will not affect any extra support they get at school to support their education.
What support the NDIS is responsible for
The NDIS is responsible for support your child gets for their disability to help with their daily lives, for example:
- equipment that needs to be transported such as a wheelchair or personal communication devices
- therapies a family and school have agreed may be delivered during school time but are not for educational purposes
- the specialised training of teachers and other staff about the specific personal support needs of a student with a disability.
The NDIS will not pay for school costs that are not related to your child’s disability, for example:
- school uniforms
- course fees.
How your child may be affected by the NDIS at school
There are four programs that may be affected by the NDIS:
NDIS funded therapy and schools
You may want your child’s NDIS therapist to work with them while they are at school, for example to:
- observe your child in the classroom or in the school environment
- attend a
student support group meeting, to monitor and tailor the support they provide to your child
- deliver your child’s therapy at school.
The principal will decide if it's safe and practical for your child to have NDIS therapy at school. They'll consider:
- your child's individual circumstances
- whether having NDIS therapy at school will affect your child’s learning
- the safety of all students
- where NDIS therapy can take place
If you make a request for NDIS therapy at school:
- You need to discuss your request with the principal
- You may need to complete a consent form and a request form
- The principal will decide whether to approve your request and let you know
- If approved, a meeting will be held to discuss practical arrangements. This will include you, the school and your child’s therapist.
If your request is approved your child’s therapist will also need to sign work agreements with the school. These agreements apply to anyone carrying out private business on school grounds. They do not relate to the NDIS service agreement between you and your child’s therapist.
You will be responsible for letting your child’s therapist know:
- the agreed times and conditions for therapy
- occasions when therapy cannot take place. This may be because your child is absent or other school activities are taking place.
You will also be responsible for letting the school know:
- if your child stops getting therapy or you change therapy providers
- how therapy is going.
If your child is getting NDIS therapy they can still use the school therapy programs. Programs may include:
- the visiting teacher service
- student support services.
Personal care in schools
Your child may need personal care assistance at school. This may include help with:
- eating and drinking
- moving around
- complex health or medical support.
Personal care is usually provided by school staff.
If your child is an NDIS participant and gets personal care it will be in their NDIS plan. The amount that’s listed is the same for all students.
You do not need to pay anyone for your child’s personal care at school and you cannot use the money in your child’s plan for a different personal carer.
Your child’s school will provide personal care until at least 2023, while a decision is made by governments about who will deliver personal care in the future. We are working with the NDIA to confirm how personal care will be delivered in the future.
Students with Disabilities Transport Program (SDTP)
If your child gets support under the SDTP nothing will change for your child until at least 2023. We’ll continue to fund and provide the program until then.
If your child gets support under the SDTP and is an NDIS participant, the comments section of your child’s NDIS plan will state your school transport. When you see student transport in your child’s NDIS plan, it's only there to show you get the service.
You cannot use the money in your child’s NDIS plan for a different transport provider.
If your child is an NDIS participant and does not use the SDTP, you need to
talk to the NDIA about how they may help your child get to and from school.
We are working with the NDIA to confirm how school transport for children with disabilities will be delivered in the future.
For more information visit:
Students with Disability Transport Program.
School leaver employment supports
The NDIS funds a range of post-school supports to help young people with disabilities move from school into employment or other options, for example:
- social and community participation
- building life and work skills
- mobility or communication technology
- finding and maintaining a job.
School leaver employment supports for more information.