Category Archives for "Uncategorized"

May 10 2021

What you need to do to get referrals from The Growing Space.

Looking for referrals from The Growing Space?

A guide for Service Providers when seeking work through Support Coordinators and NDIS Participants/Nominees

So, what do we want from you?

We want an email that explains your services in a clear and thorough way. Support Coordinators get stacks of marketing emails from providers that fail to include:

  1. Location- PLEASE tell us where you work. Your mobile number leaves no clues and your unsolicited email could, for all I know, be from anywhere from Far North Queensland to Hobart. I also need to know your geographic catchment area- right down to local councils or regional areas that you operate in.
  2. Qualifications and experience- I do not care if you have started a new physio business with an awesome logo, if you have just graduated I am going to want to know that you are working in an experienced team before I suggest you to anyone we serve. And, by the way, “counsellor” is not a qualification unless you can back it up with registration evidence.
  3. Service delivery- Are you office, home or car based? Will you come to Participants or do they need to come to you? If they need to come to you, then we need to know about the accessibility of your office. Is it on a main road? Is there accessible parking and accessible toilets? Do your toilets use stinky perfumes or have loud hand dryers? This information matters to people we work with.
  4. Fees – What are your rates? Do you charge for travel? What is your cancellation policy? If so, how much?
  5. Availability – If I called you today, how long before I could get an appointment?
  6. Registration status – Are you NDIS Registered? If so, for what registration groups? Do you accept Self and Plan Managed Participants in conjunction or exclusively? Are you willing to adjust your invoicing to accommodate less flexible Plan Managers?
  7. Contact details – I cannot tell you the number of times we get emails with no contact name or phone number, or with those details buried and unreadable, inaccessible and unclickable hidden in an image attached to the bottom of an email. Also, if the email address is a Gmail account, that sets off massive alarm bells. If you are using Gmail as your work email address, we will not see you as professional (that won’t always be right, but really guys, please get your own domain and a website– even just a simple placeholder page).
    What don’t we want?
  8. We don’t want a stack of shiny brochures in the mail. We cannot forward them on or electronically file them without scanning, which we all know is a pain. So in reality, we just chuck them in a paper folder (or round file) and never look at them again. But if you insist on emailing us a brochure then please make it a readable PDF with 12 point font or (preferably) higher. No fancy cursive fonts or light grey text on a dark grey background. I should not need to tell you this, but all communications need to be accessible – many Support Coordinators are disabled themselves!
  9. We don’t want to have a sales meeting with you, so please stop asking. We are all so wildly busy and we just don’t have the time. Moreover, we are only paid to deliver services to Participants. So time with you is time that we are not compensated for.
    What do we LOVE from providers?
    And last, but not least, what would make us go: “Oh My, I must suggest your service to loads of people today”?
  10. An Easy English explanation of your services in an accessible format.
  11. A copy of your service agreement that is less than four pages long, alongside an Easy English version.
  12. A three-paragraph summary in the body of the email, signed with a real person’s name.
  13. An email greeting that includes my actual name and something that tells me you have looked at our website and understand our philosophy.
  14. An assurance that you DO NOT demand a copy of participant plans in order to provide your service.
  15. An honest description of your strengths. For example: “We focus on the needs of teens and young adults with intellectual disability”, or “Our team has been prescribing complex equipment to adults with physical disability for a combined 230 years” or “We pride ourselves on making connections for young parent carers.” Whatever it is that makes you get up in the morning and puts the fire in your belly – that’s what we want to know.


This post is copyright of The Growing Space 2021. If you want to use it, we respectfully ask that you respect our copyright and work, and speak to us first! Thanks!

pic description: scrabble tiles spelling out "Know your customer" on a wooden background.
Nov 25 2020

Plan Spending Flexibility Changes

The NDIS have released some stuff about important things, to get your feedback.
These are about some big changes to plan spending flexibility, and about how independent assessments are used to get into the scheme.
There are 4 papers, 2 about Early Childhood changes |(some good stuff in there) but I want to talk about the other two:
Planning policy for personalised budgets and plan flexibility
Access and eligibility policy with independent assessments
It’s really important that our community read these and give feedback.
Here are some of my initial thoughts (plenty more to come, I’m sure)…
Things I like:

  1. Everyone will get a personalised budget, and the money will be flexible between support categories (except for some stuff, like SDA and capital equipment and mods etc.)
  2. Independent assessments will mean some people will get access to NDIS quicker, and won’t have to pay for reports beforehand.
    Things I don’t like:
  3. They are proposing that you only get a month of your budget at a time, and that every year it starts over (although some of the unused budget might rollover into the new year)
  4. Goals don’t affect your personalised budget (I don’t see how this is possible – if your goal is to move out of home, you’ll need a higher budget, surely?)
  5. There’s no way to appeal the results of your independent assessment (but you can appeal the plan budget amount)
    Things I’m unsure about:
  6. I don’t understand how standardised budgets based on independent assessment will take into account an individual’s unique goals – if I am happy in a 1:6 group program my funding will likely be fine, but if I want to pursue a microenterprise and need a facilitator and some 1:1 support, will I get enough funding through this proposed process?
  7. What if I want to live alone and not with 1:3 support? My “functional impairment” hasn’t changed, but I need more funding in that situation…
  8. How are they going to work “exemptions” to independent assessments – a can of worms!
Image may contain: text that says "ndis National Disability Insurance Scheme Consultation paper: Planning Policy for Personalised Budgets and Plan Flexibility November 2020 Version 1.0"
Image may contain: text that says "ndis National Disability Insurance Scheme Consultation paper: Access and Eligibility Policy with independent assessments November 2020 Version 1.0"
Jul 18 2020

NDIS are Reaching Out!

The NDIS have just launched their “Participant First Engagement Initiative”. The name is, honestly, quite terrible, but the idea is AWESOME, and you should get involved if you’re willing and have the available spoons.

The NDIS is looking for a bunch of people with disability and family carers to join various working groups, answer survey etc etc.

They’ve put out a form to get people to sign up, and I’ve made an Easy English version to encourage people to sign up easily, which you can find right here!

Please join up and/or encourage people you know who use the scheme to join and help make it better. Only our voices can change this – we need lots of them.

The official info is here:

Mar 19 2020

Support Co-ordination in a Pandemic – a practical checklist for Support Coordinators

Contact EVERY client and help them assess their critical needs, supports and ability to manage if/when it all goes pear shaped.

Here are the questions (reworded from our internal slightly to take out my swearing and add a few things I missed) our team are talking to our clients about.

  1. Do they know what this is all about – have families/carers explained the current situation? Here’s an easy English resource: and a social story:
  2. Do they understand the risks for them (ie: are they at greater risk – smoker, lung concerns, diabetes, immunosuppressed for example – not an exhaustive list) – point them to official information sources and the COVID hotline: 1800 020 080
  3. Are they considering self-isolating and if so, what preparation has been done?
  4. Do they have a week or two of essential supplies – food, hygiene, cleaning
  5. Do they have a month of prescription medication and over-the-counter medication (don’t forget laxatives!)
  6. Do they have enough consumables – continence aids, wipes, catheters, feeling tube gear to last a month or so?
  7. What are their CRITICAL (could die without) support needs, and do the providers of these supports have a plan in place to support them?
  8. If they have significant critical support needs, is there a way a worker could move in a self-isolate with them?
  9. Can their family/informal supports cover if support workers are no longer available – what is the back-up plan if they’re not available?
  10. What are their plans for support if/when day options/ADE/school closes, or if someone in their group home gets sick?
  11. Have they consider having support workers doing as much work as possible outside with participants, keeping well apart if possible, and have they considered all the ways a support worker can help remotely to reduce risk (obviously this won’t be possible for everyone!)
  12. Do they have a cleaner and do they want to keep them on – consider only allowing the cleaner to use the participant’s cloths, mop, duster and vacuum to reduce the chances of spread.
  13. Handwashing – do they understand the protocol, and are they confident to demand this of workers – if self employing or contracting, do they know about the free training on offer – and and, could they put up a poster, and set up a handwashing station outside to use before anyone even enters the house? (no-one should share the handtowels which should be washed daily in 60deg water, or they could use paper towels potentially)
  14. NDIS – do they know about the changes – ability to rollover plans etc? Make sure you are well across the daily updates at
  15. Check in on their mental health – this is a very stressful time for many – ask how often they’d like you to check in, and potentially refer/suggest support from mental health professionals
  16. Follow up with an email for those for whom it might be useful – outline the stuff they’re already doing to prepare, they stuff you talked about that they could action, and the things you’re going to do for them, as well as when you will contact them next (this email could likely work as your casenote).

Please don’t assume you know the answers to above without that direct conversation (where possible). I have been surprised by the gaps, and our support and ideas have been appreciated.

At The Growing Space, we have worked to assign each participant a risk level (A-D) to help us know when things get really bad, who is most at risk, based on the answers to these questions – it also means that if one of our team can’t work,  someone else should be able to quickly and easily pick up and follow up with those who need it the most.

And don’t forget – what is *your* plan for maintaining your mental health, and what is *your* back-up plan if you can’t look after your clients yourself?

Support Coordinators are not medical or legal professionals, so don’t cross those boundaries – be aware of your limitations and refer out as needed.

All the best during these tough times!

Copyright of The Growing Space 2020 – please share, but with credit and no edits. And remember – this is not medical or legal advice, and is very time sensitive – things are changing very quickly  – seek professional advice if you need it!                   March 20, 2020

pic desc: an illustrated green virus icon with an open mouth and scared looking eyes.

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