Home Programming, AHAs and NDIS Budgets: An OT Perspective

Written by Hanna Corfield, Clinical Lead OT at Cooee

The NDIS has been a wonderful addition for our families that have children with disabilities. It has provided families that would have otherwise not have access to ongoing therapeutic intervention with a possibility of therapy and input from the relevant health professionals. 


The NDIS has a focus of ensuring the packages provided to family are reasonable, and provide families with the supports they need to meet functional and meaningful goals. As Allied Health Professionals, we need to ensure we are providing value for money in our service provision, and this includes provision of excellent training to parents and thorough programs that families and/or Allied Health Assistants (AHA) can run in between sessions with their Occupational Therapist (OT), Speech Pathologist (SP), Physiotherapist (PT) or other Allied Health Professional (AHP). 


The Challenge:

Parents are being expected to not only be mum or dad, but also OT, SP, PT and more. Parents are having to navigate balancing their time between appointments, following up therapies at home, education (school) and spending time with their child in play/fun/family time. 


The Reality:

NDIS budgets may not allow for weekly therapy as there is not always a broad enough span of evidence to suggest therapy dosage to be weekly. Parents may feel overwhelmed with appointments and homework from appointments which is leading to burnout. 


The Way Forward:

Due to this, a new model of “home programming” needs to be found to ensure that therapy activities at home aren’t laborious or tedious but rather

a form of play and interaction between a parent and their child.

If therapists can provide you with activities to do that are fun, engaging and can be done with or without siblings, a more holistic approach to intervention can be taken reducing the demands on parents. 


The Alternatives:

Families can also start to utilise Allied Health Assistants to support therapy goals at a lower cost to help maximise their NDIS budget allocation. Allied Health Assistants are trained to take programs created by Allied Health Professionals, such as OTs, SPs, PTs and the like, and the goals they are targeting and deliver supplemental therapeutic sessions.


Where to from here? 

To tailor your program into something that fits with your goals and weekly schedule, talk to your OT or SP at Cooee to create your therapeutic journey. 

(Jones, Rodger et al BJOT)