It is really terrific news that the Commonwealth Government has signed Bilateral Agreements with the New South Wales and Victorian Governments for the roll out of the NDIS in these states.
Here is the link if you’re looking for more information on where and when.
I am interested in people getting the most out of the NDIS. And for me this means transformation. It means moving from the margins. It means having a life where you are more than just a client or an object of other people’s purpose. I don’t believe that transformation ever lands solely from ‘on high’ or from the ‘top down’.
In my experience those that are smashing our perennial low expectations, who are citizens in the broadest sense of that term, those who can see that their own life means something, all of them have seized moments when the system has popped out with something that can be shaped. Transformation starts with an intent – I no longer desire to accept that what is offered is all that is possible. No planner, no system can make this happen. This is an inner spark for more.
We are undoubtedly meeting a flawed process with the NDIS. I look on forums regularly where the many flaws appear. We’re told there’s a chance now, but many of us wonder ‘is there really’? Much of our life experience tells us that most things that get announced as big and shiny and wonderful never turn out to be that way.
In my personal and working life I’ve seen the terrible – segregation, exclusion, low expectations, congregation. I’ve also seen the flip side. I’ve seen what it looks like when people are experiencing and striving for their deep yearnings – to be someone, to belong, to love and be loved, to contribute, to feel their own life speaks and means something. I’ve learned a thing or two about the journey from one to the other.
These are some of the elements that I think are core to this change. It’s more than a package of support. Yes, having dollars are essential to exercising and maintaining genuine authority in your life. Being in charge of those dollars too. But it’s more than the money. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen extraordinary resources spent on things which do not really improve life opportunities for people. Instead they continue to waste people’s lives.
This is the practical work of InCharge and so my vision of being a contributor to those wanting to grasp an opportunity for change. To work with people on their desires for themselves and their lives. And then help put the pieces in place around that – including supports, dollars, staff, services – that will help bring those things to life. We build from the ground-up with people.
Many people can’t speak these desires. That doesn’t matter. There are many ways this can happen. It may only be a niggling – surely there is more to life than seems to be on offer! Or an expression of continued dislike and complaint. A long list of things that aren’t right (this is how my family got started on change). Or non-verbal expressions of profound unhappiness and lack of control. People who are crying out for change.
We must also demand differently from our systems and services. This is a ‘top down’ piece to be done by our governments and by the NDIA. There is a lot of work to be done to move away from ‘special’ programs and solutions that further serve to segregate and exclude people. I was very heartened to hear Rhonda Galbally speak at a conference in Sydney recently where she described work that the NDIA Independent Advisory Council had been doing on ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports. The starting point for that she said, is the question “What is an ordinary life?” This is where we should be moving with reasonable and necessary. The NDIS should be funding the gap between the answer to that question and where a person finds themselves. This would help stop the NDIS from thinking more of the same is OK, she said. Hopefully the proof will be in the ILC and planning process pudding. How does this come to play out in the planning process regardless of the planner sitting before you?
But life is more than a planning conversation. It is also about how we choose to use those resources. What we direct them towards. Are we asking for different as well?
These are some of the qualities I think are characteristic of genuinely innovative service responses.
Focussing on sustainability
Long lasting, personal relationships are the key to ongoing quality of life. Creating a more inclusive society by assisting people to tap into the wealth of ideas, people, energy and financial resources within their own networks, or to build these where they don’t exist.
Promoting active citizenry
People are not just receivers. Showcase and build on people’s innate capacities and interests, in order to realise potential.
Addressing adaptive barriers to change
When we are seeking to be the author of our own life, many things have the potential to de-rail us. For many people for example, the fear of being rejected when you take a step forward in your community can be a huge thing, but making lasting change depends upon stepping forward.
Aspire to be ‘alongside’ (not doing for) people in their own efforts at change.
Developing rich relationships
Dissatisfaction with the dominance of paid relationships, and so breaking this dominance and offering people a vision of a life lived with many different kinds of people and relationships.
Working with the richness that already exists in our communities to assist it become more adept? at inclusion. Enduring relationships do not come from services, they come from the building blocks of the neighbourhood. That means investing in communities to become more competent. It means supporting an individual by growing community with them so that a service is not the bringers of the answers, but the bringers of the questions.
Autonomy and control
Focus on the conditions in which autonomy and greater control by people themselves can thrive.
This is more than just ‘goals’. People need to be ignited by something to strive for in their life. But they also need supportive, encouraging and challenging people around them. They need valued roles and services that are personalised and directed by people themselves.
I look forward to building and seeking these responses.