Finding their way with Support Coordination

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For David and his mother Ngoc, who speak English as a second language, Support Coordination has been invaluable in terms of navigating the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). 

After fleeing Vietnam as a refugee, Ngoc arrived in Australia in 1985 and gave birth to her son David a year later. David was born with Down Syndrome and after receiving his NDIS Plan, Ngoc chose Therapy Focus to provide Support Coordination services.  

Therapy Focus Support Coordinator, Michelle Southwell has been working with David and Ngoc since 2017 to implement the supports in David’s Plan. Michelle said her role is to assist NDIS participants, their families and carers to understand their NDIS Plan and link them with service providers and community supports. 

“I empower participants and their families to exercise choice and control when deciding on the services and supports that can help them achieve their goals,” Michelle said. 

“I do this by building strong relationships, networking with stakeholders and addressing any barriers that prevent participants from achieving those goals.”

young man with therapist and mother

Pictured: Ngoc (left), Michelle (right) and David (centre).

Michelle attends meetings with Ngoc, David and other service providers to ensure the family understands the role of each provider and the services available to David. Ngoc said that Michelle has been a great help, particularly where processes or systems can be challenging.  

“Michelle has helped me through the difficult process of applying for guardianship of David, which has allowed me to make informed decisions with regard to his health, finances and lifestyle needs,” Ngoc said. 

“She has linked me up with an advocate at the Ethnic Disability Advocacy Service, referred me to Silver Chain for continence aids for David, and encouraged me to re-join a local carer support group run by Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre, after I stopped attending.” 

Michelle said that she will often take on a liaison role when working with families like David and Ngoc, who can find it difficult coordinating services.  

“I will contact David’s therapists and other service providers for updates in relation to his goals, and assist when Ngoc when has trouble explaining what one service provider is doing to another service provider,” Michelle said.  

“I recently arranged a meeting that included David’s Support Worker from Activ and his Physiotherapist from Therapy Focus to ensure that everyone was on the same page with regard to David’s exercise program, for example.” 

As David’s sole carer, Ngoc said that she wants her son to be as independent, happy and healthy as possible in case she is no longer able to care for him.  

“I want David to be happy, go out, keep active and one day live with a group of people if I’m not able to look after him.” 

To learn more about Therapy Focus’ Support Coordination services click here or call 1300 135 373. 

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young man with therapist and mother
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