If a child aged 0-6 years has a disability, or if there are concerns with their development, they may be eligible to receive support from the NDIS. The Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach has been designed to support these infants and children. A child over the age of seven with permanent and significant disability will be eligible for the NDIS if they meet either the disability or early intervention criteria, as well as the age and residence requirements.

Last updated: 11 January 2022
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About the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is an Australia-wide scheme that supports people, including children, with permanent and significant disability. It provides individualised support for eligible participants with permanent and significant disability, their families and carers.

The Scheme supports people with disability to achieve their goals, take part in daily life, and choose their own supports and services.

Funding is provided directly to eligible participants enabling them to purchase the services they need.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is implementing the Scheme and is responsible for assessing eligibility and working with participants to develop support plans to meet their needs. NSW Health works closely with the NDIA to ensure our patients, their families and carers can make the most of the opportunities and services available through the NDIS.

In 2016 the NDIA implemented a nationally consistent approach to supporting children with disability (0-6 years). This is known as the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach.

The ECEI is a gateway which allows any family with a child with developmental delay or other possible disability to seek assistance and assessment from an ECEI Partner regardless of whether the problem has been fully diagnosed.

You can contact an Early Childhood Partner if concerns about your child’s development have been identified.

Children with disability - eligibility criteria

Aged 0-6 years

If a child aged 0-6 years has a disability, or if there are concerns with their development, they may be eligible to receive support from the NDIS.

The ECEI approach has been designed to support these infants and children.

Depending on their individual circumstances, families are provided with a combination of information, emotional support, referral to mainstream services, short-term intervention, or help to access the NDIS for longer-term intensive supports as part of a funded NDIS Plan.

If a child has a condition that the NDIA has already identified as always resulting in permanent impairment and substantially reduced functional capacity, or as always benefiting from early intervention, the NDIA does not require any further information.

Aged 7 and over

A child over the age of seven with permanent and significant disability will be eligible for the NDIS if they meet either the disability or early intervention criteria, as well as the standard age and residence requirements.

Disability​

The child meets the disability criteria if:

  • the child has a disability that is likely to be permanent, and
  • cannot take part effectively in the activities of daily living without assistive technology, equipment or home modifications, or
  • requires assistance from other people, and
  • the child is likely to require supports from the NDIS over their lifetime.

NDIS and NSW Health

The scheme does not replace mainstream health services. NSW Health continues to provide emergency and routine clinical services such as surgery, dental care and palliative care to all NSW residents, including those with a disability.

Not all elements of a person’s support needs are met through NDIS funded support. Some are met through mainstream support services, family and friends. The NDIS funds reasonable and necessary non-clinical support that focuses on a person’s functional ability. ​​​

NDIS provided supports

The NDIS will fund early intervention and other supports that improve a child’s functional capacity, or prevent deterioration of functioning. This may include services delivered or supervised by clinically trained or qualified health practitioners that enable the child to live in the community and participate in education and employment.

The NDIS will also provide support for children, families and carers required as a direct result of the child’s disability. These supports will enable families and carers to maintain their caring role, community participation, and include therapeutic and behavioural supports, additional respite, aids and equipment.

NSW Health's ongoing role

NSW Health continues to be responsible for the diagnosis of children with disability and developmental delay, and provides clinical treatment of health conditions.

NSW Health also maintains leadership in clinical expertise in child development and disability. Where a child is supported by the NDIS, the child can still access health services provided by NSW Health, private health providers or Commonwealth funded health services such as general practitioners and Primary Health Networks (PHNs).

NSW Health continues to provide health assessments to children in out-of-home care. It also provides supports which are clinical in nature such as acute, ambulatory, continuing care and newborn follow-up.

The health system remains responsible for the diagnosis and clinical treatment of all health conditions as well as other activities aimed at improving the health status of all children such as:

  • general practitioner services
  • medical specialist services
  • nursing allied health services (including acute/post-acute)
  • preventive health
  • care in public and private hospitals
  • pharmaceuticals.

NSW Health is also responsible for any time-limited and goal-oriented services and therapies for children with acute health needs, where the predominant purpose is treatment directly related to the child’s health status or after a recent medical or surgical event.

Referrals to NDIS and other support services

Regardless of the referral pathway, NSW Health can refer a child to the NDIA or advise their parent or guardian of services available through an ECEI Partner. NSW Health can also discuss other disability support services available for the ongoing support of the child’s disability.

For further information on the NDIS or the ECEI, visit their websites.

To find out if a person with disability is eligible for the NDIS use the NDIS Access Checklist​ which is available on the NDIS website.​​​

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