We need to be satisfied that the support will be, or is likely to be, effective and beneficial, when we consider current good practice.
We need to work out if the support is likely to be both:
- effective – it will do what you need it to do
- beneficial – the support will help you do things you can’t otherwise do and meets your support needs.
It can also be effective and beneficial if it will help you maintain your current level of functioning. That is, it will help you keep doing the things you can currently do. And, it’ll help you maintain your work, study and social life as much as you can.
When we decide if a support is effective and beneficial, we look at what is current good practice. This means we look at whether there is evidence that the support works for someone with similar disability support needs to you. We won’t need an expert opinion or report for every support, as we can often rely on other evidence.
- We may have information already about whether the support is widely accepted to suit someone with your disability support needs. For example, we could rely on academic research and other literature. This could include university studies on therapies that have been published and refereed in academic journals, evidence based practice resources, or clinical practice guidelines.
- If you or other participants have used the support before, we can consider your experience using the support and the experience of your family members and carers.
- We may consider things we have learnt from other participants in the NDIS with similar support needs to you.
We know you’re the expert in your own life, and we use your own experience as much as we can.
For example, we will talk to you about any supports that have helped you do things you can’t otherwise do. Or, some supports may have helped maintain your ability to be as independent as possible.
If it’s a new support such as new assistive technology, we might fund a trial. This is so we can learn from your experience of using the support, to check if it’s likely to do what you need it to.
Your evidence can be particularly useful when it’s consistent with other evidence, or if we don’t have expert evidence.
We will look at the opinions held by the majority of experts and what they generally agree on. Sometimes we will have to seek expert opinion or report to make a decision.
For example, we may need the views of doctors or health professionals who may be specialists in managing your disability.
Vivek is 12 and has a goal to improve his communication skills. He and his family want him to improve his social skills with the kids in his class.
When he was younger, Vivek’s family tried speech therapy, and believe it really helped him improve his communication. His family told his planner about how it helped Vivek learn how to respond to different social settings.
Vivek’s speech therapist also believes it could work well for him now, and help him interact with his classmates.
When deciding whether the therapy is effective and beneficial, Vivek’s planner will consider:
- how speech therapy has assisted Vivek in the past, including first-hand information from Vivek, his family members and carers
- the views of his speech therapist on the effectiveness and benefits of speech therapy for Vivek
- other information or expert evidence about the effectiveness and benefits of speech therapy, including for a child of the same age, and with the same impairments and functional capacity.
Based on this information and evidence, Vivek’s planner decides the speech therapy is effective and beneficial. If it meets the other funding criteria, we will be able to fund speech therapy in Vivek’s plan.