STEPS to Independence
One of the Sunshine Coast’s longest running disability organisations is utilising its many years of accumulated knowledge, experience and connections to help people gain positive outcomes under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
STEPS Community Services, who offer a range of programs and services aimed at building capacity and independence for people with a disability, said it welcomed a new era of support services that gives individuals the power to identify the best services for them, to gain control over their own finances.
Before rolling out NDIS services regionally in 2017, STEPS undertook several years of research and planning, and importantly met with families and individuals who are to be affected by the new scheme, gaining an in depth understanding of the community’s needs.
STEPS Community Services executive manager, Kerry Staines, said the organisation’s comprehensive approach to preparing for services under the NDIS has allowed them to break down some of the fear and uncertainty for their customers.
‘We’ve had many, many conversations with individuals and families around their concerns, hopes and expectations regarding their funding under the NDIS, and by truly understanding the needs of our customers we’ve been able to turn their feelings of uncertainty to feelings of confidence and positivity about their future,’ Ms Staines said.
‘We’re able to help our customers navigate the NDIS so that they are in a space of possibility, thinking about the services that will really help them get the most out of life, within a budget and support framework that aligns with their lifestyle,’ she said.
Ms Staines said that while the NDIS provided benefits to most individuals eligible under the scheme, she strongly encouraged people to align themselves with an organisation like STEPS to help them navigate the services available to them and make a plan for their funding.
‘We have seen some examples in earlier roll outs where individuals have been left short changed in their funding because they haven’t been fully aware of the opportunities available to them,’ Ms Staines said.
‘We’re advising that people do their research first and make sure they’re partnering with an organisation that has a detailed knowledge of the NDIS but also a genuine understanding of what’s important to individuals’, she said.
STEPS are hosting a broad range of services to help their customers prepare for the new scheme including NDIS pre-planning, support coordination, and plan management.
They’re also offering support services from assistance with daily living and self-care, to behaviour management, assistance with social and community participation, employment and skills development, and specialised services for people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Ms Staines said the NDIS was just one more step in the right direction to achieving an even playing field for more than 4 million Australians with a disability.
‘We’re on track for a brighter, more inclusive future for people with a disability where people are empowered to live the life they choose’.