Can you use your NDIS funds for swimming lessons?
It is not common for the NDIS to fund swimming lessons in their entirety (although we have had heard of it happening), as it is considered necessary that all children receive swimming lessons, not just those who have a disability. What is most common, is that the NDIS will fund the difference in cost between a group and a 1:1 lesson, IF it can be justified why the individual needs 1:1 support in the water. Your occupational Therapist and/or Behaviour Specialist can help with this justification.
When we contacted the NDIS about this, requesting clear guidelines, we received the following reply:
“Where it can be demonstrated that individual lessons are required as a direct result of the person’s disability and the intention is to build an entry level of proficiency, the NDIS may consider funding the gap between group lessons and individual lessons.
NDIS support funding is based on an individual’s reasonable and necessary support needs and the inclusion of funding for swimming lessons will therefore be assessed on an individual basis. The circumstances of each request are likely to be different, and as a result, the decision may differ from case to case. Some considerations will include:
a. the participant’s goals and what they hope to achieve through swimming lessons;
b. whether there is a different way to meet that need or goal that may be more effective or represent better value for money;
c. the functional impact of the person’s disability; and
d. the other supports included in the participant’s plan.”
We have heard of circumstances whereby the NDIS will fund a Support Worker in the water with a group lesson rather than funding a 1:1 lesson. The problem with this is that often this just adds more stimulation to the lesson, and for many of our participants, is ineffective. This will really depend on your swimmer as we know there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Be sure to talk to your Planner about the fact that your child’s lessons are provided by an Autism Swim Approved Instructor, as it means they have undertaken additional training to become more specialised. Also be sure to concentrate on the ‘water safety’ elements of the lessons, particularly given that children with ASD are considered ‘high risk’ for drowning.
As a swimming instructor, which line items can I register under?
There also appears to be some mixed messages under the line items in which swim instructors can register. The reply that we received in relation to this was as follows:
“There are two registration groups that would be worthwhile reviewing in the materials detailed above (NDIA Guide to Suitability and NDIS Provider Toolkit):
• Development of daily living and life skills; and
• Participation in community, social and civic activities.
Both are specialist disability registration groups and will require accreditation against the quality and safeguarding requirements in each jurisdiction that providers may wish to deliver support in.
If funding were allocated to Capacity Building Daily Living, providers could claim under Development of Daily Living and Life Skills.”