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How Families Can Support NDIS Participants

Published on June 30, 2020

OnTrack Tasmania and other NDIS providers recognise that families should be the primary carers of participants. Their main role is to offer the first line of support to people living with disabilities by showing love, care and respect for their loved ones. 

However, it can be quite challenging to take care of a person with disabilities. Through OnTrack Tasmania’s Support Coordination program, both families and NDIS participants can get the right support they need to have a successful relationship even if the latter decides on supported independent living in the future.

Are you a family member who would like to be more active in supporting your loved one who’s an NDIS participant? Follow our tips to help yourself and the NDIS participant prepare for independent living in Hobart and beyond.

5 Ways Family Members Can Help NDIS Participants

Fostering a caring and loving environment is a crucial element in helping an NDIS participant become more independent. If you would like to help your loved one, you can do the following:

  1. Get Training. Taking care of an NDIS participant who prefers supported independent living will be easier if you get the proper support training, in relation to the participant’s age, capabilities and your own family circumstances as well. 
  2. Talk to Support Coordinators. It’s important that you engage with support coordinators who have taken care of participants with conditions similar to your relative’s. They can help you with building plans that encourage a participant to become more independent or hone your skills in managing the impact of the participant’s conditions within the family. Additionally, they can also provide NDIS supported living options where you can be more accessible to your relative should they want you to be close to them.
  3. Request for Additional Support. If you are going to a social gathering with your family member, you may help them be more confident by bringing a support specialist to help you supervise and give your relative the opportunity to participate more in society.
  4. Make Them Feel Comfortable Asking for Help. People with disabilities do a balancing act of asking for help or asking for nothing at all – and learning how to find that sweet spot in between. Some NDIS participants may feel overbearing if they ask for things, no matter how simple, and will try to do most things by themselves. Creating an open and safe space where the NDIS participant can confidently decide on this matter, and ask for help if/when it might be needed, helps them prepare and become more enthusiastic about what’s ahead in life for them.
  5. Seek part-time SIL programs. NDIS participants don’t have to live independently at all times. There are programs that offer part-time supported independent living that eases transitioning from living with the family to being on their own. It’s good practice to spend time researching this and find good SIL programs that support this structure.

3 Things NDIS Participants Can Do

If you are an NDIS participant who may feel hesitant in asking for what you need or want, we understand that this may be a challenge for you if you decide to enrol in a supported independent living program. We know it can be hard to ask for help as you might feel you’re being overbearing or asking for too much. 

That’s okay, but don’t believe for a second that you are overbearing. We encourage our NDIS participants to communicate what they need – and more so to families. In order to overcome shyness and ask for more support, you could try the following:

  1. Write It Down First. If it helps, you can write down what you want to say and practise it over and over until you feel confident when talking to your family. You may also want to have that piece of paper with your notes beside you when you talk to them. What’s important is that you convey what you’d like, no matter how simple or complex.
  2. Talk to Someone Who Understands Your Situation. It’s perfectly normal and all right to be more open to someone outside your family before discussing matters with them. Be it a friend our your own support coordinator, you can talk to someone else to discuss how you want to talk to your family. They’ll listen to you and give you friendly advice, or simply let you know that you’re doing the right thing. 
  3. Remember: It’s Okay to Make Mistakes. If you’re afraid that you cannot fully get your point across, it’s fine. Like us, your family is always thinking about your welfare and they will understand you and your needs. If you need a support worker to help you articulate your feelings more effectively, you can always ask them to join you as you sit down with your family. This can help you boost confidence.

Families with NDIS participants can enjoy a great relationship with each other through open, supportive and loving communication. We have supported independent living programs where relatives can help participants thrive and be successful in their lives. With the help of our support coordinators, we help all families take care of each other.OnTrack Tasmania is an NDIS provider that helps participants prepare for independent living on their own terms. For more information about our NDIS independent living options for participants, please visit our SIL services on our website.