For those of us who love politics, Federal Election days are a little like the Super Bowl. Our two teams line up against one another for an epic battle which culminates in voting day where you are guaranteed a sausage sizzle. Watching the seat count on election night is a big fun event in my house…yes, we are nerds!
This year however, I have very little interest in July 2, because to me, July 1 is a much bigger deal.
Today starts the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme which means finally meaningful help will be coming to thousands of Australians with autism and their families who care for them. For those of us who have lived and worked in the autism world for many years, we have been waiting for this day for far too long.
Let’s be honest, government support for people with autism was non-existent till 2008 and even when it did arrive it was very limited support to only very small children. No one was looking at a whole of life plan which met the very individual needs of each person on the spectrum. Since my Jack was diagnosed in 1999, I have met thousands of families across Australia who have struggled to fund appropriate supports for their children. Well from today, a change is coming. The NDIS will mean a better day for all Australians on the autism spectrum and their families who want the best for them.
Now I am not naïve enough to think everyone in the first roll out areas will be getting a call today and have a plan in place by next week but the cogs of this beast will start rolling today and it will reach your family and it will be great. You know why I know that? Because we won’t let it be anything else. We have all fought too hard for too long to end up with an NDIS which doesn’t work for our children.
We want an insurance scheme, not just another welfare scheme. We want funds and support for programs and services that teach our children skills, provide access to truly inclusive opportunities and result in an increased quality of life for all of us.
Some of you will need to wait though. Quite rightly, it is the most severely affected individuals who will receive the first packages. I understand the wait might be frustrating, but I’ve been waiting 18 years for this….so you all can wait a little longer!
To those families who have put in all of the hard work over many, many years….well done to you. Let the Australian government give you a hand now. To those of you new to all of this, I am glad you are coming into the autism world with more support than many of us ever experienced. Your little ones can learn much, they can succeed and finally there will be the supports to help them get there.
Ironically for my family, Jack Rogerson will not be an NDIS participant. He is a full time working man now who no longer needs that support. I do kind of love though that he is now paying taxes which will contribute to the NDIS so that some other little dude out there will have the opportunity to reach their best potential.
So get excited people!! But more importantly…. get ready!