If there is one secret weapon Participants need to obtain the support they require from the NDIS, it is strong allied health reports. Armed with a good report, accessing the Scheme and receiving a desirable Plan becomes a whole lot easier. However, a skilled therapist does not necessarily translate into an expert report writer, and even an expert report writer does not necessarily know how to write specialist NDIS reports. That is why we are always on the lookout for resources that can make the job of allied health practitioners that little bit easier. After all, no Participant should miss out on a support solely because they could not source adequate reports.
Luckily, there are a growing number of resources out there designed to assist therapists. VALID, a Victorian peak organisation representing people with intellectual disabilities, has recently published a 10 step guide to excellent allied health reports. The resource talks practitioners through the basic principles of the NDIS and the important role that reports play. At the end, there is a useful checklist that Participants and Therapists can use to ensure they have covered all the necessary points. The contents of the resource include:
- Understand that the NDIS is different
- Start with plain language
- Provide evidence for everything
- Make clear, strong recommendations
- Understand ‘reasonable & necessary’
- Explicitly respond to the reasonable & necessary criteria
- Therapies must achieve outcomes
- Stay within scope
- Focus on readability
- Be appeal ready
The guide’s chapter on plain language is particularly potent. It stresses that reports need to be easily understood not only by NDIS planners (who often do not have any technical expertise) but also by Participants and their families, including people who struggle with complex concepts. The better a Participant understands their report, the more effectively they will be able to advocate its message to the Planner. Participants cannot bring their allied health practitioners into a planning meeting with them. But armed with a good report and a strong understanding of what they are asking for, they might just get the outcomes they need.