ADCET webinar NDIS and further education panel discussion

DARLENE: Hi, everybody. It’s Darlene McLennan
here, the Manager of the Australian Disability Clearing House on Education and Training and
also the NDCO for North and Northwest of Tasmania. Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge that I am
on Aboriginal land and I’d like to pay my respects and acknowledge the traditional custodians
of the land, the Palawa people. I want to pay my respects to Elders past,
present and emerging and I’d also like to acknowledge the Tasmanian Aboriginal community
for continually maintaining their identity, culture and Aboriginal rights. Thank you, everybody, for joining us. This
is a first for us, to actually run a panel discussion like this. So, it’s a bit scary
and daunting. I was trying to sleep last night, going, “Please don’t worry about it, brain.”
I’m glad it’s here, because it will soon be over but also for the fact that it’s a
great topic. It’s been probably one of the things that has been really requested from
the sector, having discussion around this topic. It’s fantastic. Just a little bit of housekeeping before we
start. If you want to activate your closed captions, you click on the CC button, which
is on the tool bar, which is either located at the bottom of your screen or at the side
or at the top depending on how you have your Zoom is set up. You can increase the lines appearing in the
caption box. You just need to click on the small arrow on the right-hand side to do that. If you’re having any technical difficulties,
you can email us at [email protected] Today we’ll do an introduction of our panel
members. They will provide a bit of an overview of their role, and Kerryn will give us an
overview of her project, and then I’ve got some set questions and a case study. Then
we’ll open up the floor to questions. We won’t be able to ask people’s individual
questions by raising hands, because we can’t guarantee that your sound and so on will work,
but I will ask them. David Swayn, who is the NDCO for QLD, is managing
the questions, and he will shoot me questions as we go. The reality is we are not going to get to
all the questions, because we’ve probably already had 15 questions prior to this. As I said, it’s a really exciting topic that
people are wanting to engage. Just another thing to remember when you do
ask questions, if you can do that in the chat box. You can actually choose to either ask
panellists or a panellist and attendees. I encourage you to do that with the panellist
and attendees so everybody can see your questions. This way we can have a really interactive
session where some people may be able to answer your questions who are joining us today or
it may just start some networking opportunities for you to catch up with each other or to
have some discussions offline today. That’s all of the housekeeping over and done
with. Now I would like to welcome our panel members. Today we have Michelle Campbell,
who is a Senior Manager for Student Equity and Support at the University of Newcastle.
Welcome, Michelle. We also have Michelle Anderson, the Manager
of Access and Inclusion, Student Engagement Uni, at the University of South Australia. We have Kerryn Lester-Smith, the Director
of an NDIS Project with The Gordon. And Meredith Jackson, the Lead Vocational Teacher from
Disability Services in TAFE QLD. We are well represented across the states and territories,
which is great. Thank you, all, for joining us. A special thank you to Meredith, who is
sick today. She has dragged herself off her sick bed to join us. What we are going to do is just go through
each of the panel members. Michelle Campbell has suggested that I call her ’Chelle so
that I don’t get confused. At one point we actually had another Michelle lined up to
be a part of it, and that was going to be really complicated. I’m glad we haven’t. But
we might start with you, Chelle Campbell, and if you could just talk a little bit about
your role. CHELLE: As the Senior Manager of Student Equity
and Support, I have a wide portfolio of staff, including the staff from the accessibility
team, who support students with disability. My teams also look at the intake for counselling,
at students loans and welfare. I have an equity and diversity coordinator and someone who
looks after threatening, concerning and worrying behaviours. In terms of accessibility and our interface
with the NDIS, my experience here is having supported students through planning meetings
and then follow-up meetings with Local Area Coordinators as required. DARLENE: Great, thank you, Chelle. It’s hard
to call you Chelle. I will have to practise. We might hand over to the other Michelle,
Michelle Anderson. MICHELLE: Thanks, Darlene. I’m the Manager
of Access and Inclusion at Uni SA, South Australia. That means I manage the access and inclusion
team, people who work directly with students to develop access plans and advise around
their accessibility needs and supports. I also have responsibility for developing our
LGBTQI+ initiatives as well. I have a background in disability and I also
worked for the NDIS for three years here in South Australia as an assistant director of
service delivery. I have that background knowledge, as well as the interface with now higher education
here at the university. We have not had a lot of students disclose their plans to us,
but we do know that they exist and we have had some people we’ve referred on to the scheme. DARLENE: Great. Thank you. Over to you, Meredith. MEREDITH: Hi, everyone. Thanks, Darlene. Meredith
Jackson. I coordinate the disability support for TAFE SkillsTech, which is our large trade
TAFE. I work across four campuses. I work on the
front line with the student establishing their plans. I organise the support for them. I’m
an educator. I do a lot of education with our teachers on supporting our students. I’m
also the TAFE Queensland ATEND rep. A large part of my role is in the educational
side of it and working very closely with the students in identifying what the expectations
are of the courses that they’re going into and ensuring that the reasonable adjustments
are in place for them. We’ve got a team of about 10 that I manage
that go out in our classrooms and provide that support. Thanks, everyone. DARLENE: Brilliant. Thank you. Finally over
to you, Kerryn, if you could explain your role and what project you’re working on. KERRYN: We’ve been working across the TAFE
network in Victoria for about a year now looking at the TAFE response to the NDIS in particular.
We’re based at the Gordon in Geelong, but we’re working across the TAFE network in Victoria.
There are 16 TAFEs in Victoria with multiple campuses. My background is as an OT and I have worked
in the social insurance sector for the last 12 years. The basic overview of our project
is to look at collaboration and increasing opportunities for industry engagement for
the TAFE network and also to look at students with a disability and increasing inclusive
and accessible education for students with a disability, and also looking at TAFE as
an inclusive workplace. DARLENE: Brilliant. Sounds like a fascinating
project. KERRYN: Yeah. DARLENE: Great. Thank you for that. We have
been chatting by email, the group of us, about some of the questions that we might ask. As
I said earlier, there’s probably thousands of things we can kind of ask. I suppose the
first one we’re wanting to focus on: have you noticed any changes or any benefits, negative
or positive, for students with disability in your universities or TAFEs with the introduction
of the insurance scheme? I don’t know if, Chelle, maybe you can answer
that one? CHELLE: I would think that we have a number
of students with high support needs and high care needs who have been more readily able
to attend university, because of the support they’ve been given through the scheme. For
example, previously a student who would require personal care on campus might have had to
have been met by a parent, taken off campus, only done one subject at a time, whereas now
with someone to attend to personal care needs and to be able to come onto campus, these
students can be carrying out a part-time or in some cases even a full-time load, thanks
to the supports that are in place. DARLENE: Brilliant. Does anybody else want
to answer that question at all? MEREDITH: Hi, it’s Meredith here from TAFE.
As Chelle said, we’ve had an increase of external support workers that are coming onto the campus
and providing that additional support to the students outside the scope of our role as
educators, and that’s been a really positive sight to see. We’ve just found as the educational provider
we’ve had more call to provide information around the scope and the role of the external
worker and develop some guidelines around that, just to ensure that they understand
what their role and responsibility is. Workplace health and safety, and what being a participant
in a TAFE environment is. One of the other areas that I’ve noticed myself
is an increase in people that are actually case managing or advocating for the students,
calling up and making contact with me about the supports available from the educational
perspective at TAFE for the student, which has been positive, but I’ve also noticed that
some of the organisations that they come from are not familiar to me. I think there’s been
an increase in service providers working with the students in regard to putting educational
plans together and advocating and making these calls on behalf. I’ve also experienced quite a gap in understanding.
This is probably more of a negative that I’ve come across; the people that are ringing up
and advocating don’t have much grounding in what a vocational educational course is all
about and what the inherent requirements are. That to me has been a concern. We’re in a fortunate place where we do pre-entry
enrolment before they enrol. We are capturing them and navigating students at times into
a more appropriate course. DARLENE: Further to that is the issue around
the role of the staff employed by the TAFE and then staff employed through a person’s
NDIS package. You said you’re often having to teach — well,
inform the NDIS funded staff about their role but also about, has there been need to clarify
what the role of your educational staff is and what your role as a support person to
the individual has been? MEREDITH: Yes. That’s quite common still,
to get that clarification. It can be very grey. I’ve had situations where the student
has been in class with a support worker on one side and then an external support person
on the other side. So, we’ve just had to get some clear grounds there on what the role
is. As well in situations where we’ve got a student
coming in with an external support worker funded through NDIS, we’ve had to be very
transparent and clear with our communication with our educators to make sure that they
understand what the role is there. I have had some good feedback and then I’ve had some
questions around, you know, what is the role of those people coming in. I’ve had feedback
at times that the external support people have been seen to be providing educational
assistance. There’s been a little bit of a challenge there. It’s just continued education
with our teachers as well so they’re managing it respectfully in the classroom. DARLENE: Can you give us some ideas of the
NDIS funded roles? Do you have some examples you could give people? MEREDITH: It could be as far as helping the
student to get to transport, helping the student navigate transport, get into the classroom,
helping the student settle into the class environment. So, some personal socialisation
skills. You know, monitoring how the student’s wellbeing is, being available there to support
them if they need to with, you know, personal needs, dietary needs as well and then also,
I guess, communicating anything appropriate to our staff as well whilst they’re on campus. DARLENE: Thank you. Does anybody want to add
to that at all? All good? All right. That leads us into the next question around the
grey area. I think this is often one of the grey areas that we kind of come up with in
terms of the intersectionality between the NDIS and further education. I think one of
the grey areas may be perceived as that communication. Especially as a further education provider,
there is an expectation that a student comes ready to learn and able to participate fully,
and then often especially somebody on the autism spectrum, for example, may really struggle
to understand the hidden agendas or to communicate effectively with lecturers or teachers. Is there experience you’ve had in those grey
areas? Michelle Anderson, you’ve kind of popped up there. MICHELLE: Yes. So, there is some confusion
we found with families around what they can use their funds for and what they can’t for
those who are on the spectrum and who have a plan. We do provide some level of participation
assistance support from the university, but that’s quite limited in what we can fund.
So, we do talk to the parents around how they might like to use some of their support funding
to support — or to the student themselves. We find that the students on the spectrum
still have significant parental and family involvement, as they should, in terms of supporting
them and that’s been a struggle for some levels of the university, accepting that this person
doesn’t come ready to just pop into an adult learning environment with all the prerequisite
skills that they’re expecting. So, yes, that’s a big grey area for us, I think. DARLENE: We probably jumped too much into
that. That’s kind of the case study we’re looking at today. MICHELLE: Sorry. DARLENE: No, it’s my fault. That is one
of the grey areas. Are there any other grey areas people are thinking that they could
identify at this stage? MICHELLE: I notice that Meredith made mention
of assistance with transport. I just want to note that, as soon as the student crosses
the threshold into the university grounds, transport within the grounds of the university
is the responsibility of the university. In our case, we’ve just purchased a new van.
It can carry two wheelchairs and six passengers and it is staffed by students who are our
mobility bus drivers, and we’ve now got a new campus in the city. So, sometimes we’re
transporting even between campuses. Because travel training the student to catch the shuttle
bus like everyone else is not always possible. So I just need to note that, yes, it’s a
student’s responsibility to get here. But after that it’s our responsibility. I think,
Darlene, that might lead us into potentially a conversation later around transport while
on placement as well, which is going to prove difficult for a number of us. DARLENE: Any other grey areas as well? MICHELLE: Probably just for us is where it
crosses the line into — and this was touched on before — where a support worker crosses
the line into academic support, and assignment writing, assisting with breaking down an assessment
task, proofreading assignments, things like that. That quite a murky area as well. Often we get asked for tutor support for assisting
with those things that we can’t necessarily provide but could be provided in their NDIS
plan. DARLENE: That’s that challenge too. For people
to succeed in their study it comes back to that sense of, without that — the reality
is universities can’t support 30,000 or 40,000 students with individual unpacking of assignments.
They might have bulk sessions of individual sessions that students can book into for 15
minutes or half an hour. A student on the spectrum, for example, might need more support
than that. I understand you could name that up as tutorial
support — not tutorials, mentoring support. That may be another way that people need to
frame that so it’s not actually academic support; it’s actually mentoring the students, which
does come under the insurance scheme. So, it’s not necessarily academic support. The impact for somebody on the autism spectrum
with their executive functioning, the disability impacts on their executive functioning. That’s
where you can fight with the insurance scheme, but it’s still a very grey area. That’s good.
Are there any areas or services or supports that you feel neither are kind of taking on?
Are there any gaps in those areas? No-one is doing that? MICHELLE: Not here. DARLENE: Yep. CHELLE: I was just going to say, I think one
of the big problems that we continue to see, remembering that the Hunter region was a trial
site back in 2014, is the increase of young people who aren’t ready for university. And
not so young people sometimes. This is not the right place and the right time, but the
increase in those people being questioned and necessarily referred potentially by NDIS
staff saying, “The university provides really good support. Maybe you should go to the university
and they’ll be able to help you.” So, it’s that expectation building that might have
happened with a planner and then the student lands here, and that creates an awful lot
of additional work for us to communicate just what we can provide and what is reasonable. DARLENE: It’s quite frustrating, isn’t it? KERRYN: I would echo that from a Victorian
TAFE perspective as well. MEREDITH: Certainly TAFE as well. DARLENE: Probably the outcome for that is
some more development around the planners and LACs, would be good. While we’re having
this break, we do have a poll that we’re just going to ask people a question. So, what we’ll
do in that time is we won’t talk, we will put the poll up on the screen for people to
— are you right to do the poll, Jane? Hopefully she’s not dealing with too many back-end problems
here. JANE: Yes, I am. If you could read out the
question? DARLENE: That’s fine. I’ll read out the question
and then we won’t talk for a little while. So, people who are needing the captioning,
we won’t talk each either until we complete. Are you right? Do you feel you are well informed about what
NDIA should fund and what the further education sector should fund to support a student to
succeed in further education? So, it’s a yes or no answer. So, if people could take the
time to do that and we’ll just wait for one minute. Okay. Hopefully you’ve all had a chance to
vote. Are you able to share the results, Jane? Have you learnt that part yet? JANE: Just wait on a sec. Just a few more
still coming in. DARLENE: Okay. Just while we’re waiting for
that, this grey area around transport on campus — I think it’s really clear around if you
are going to a — you were studying land care, for example, at the university and they were
heading off on a field trip and you’re in a wheelchair, yes, they would need to provide
transport, accessible transport, to that for you. The university would have to be responsible. So, Michelle, have you had clear guidance
around this? I suppose the question is about orientation and mobility. So, for people who
are blind or vision impaired, where does orientation and mobility end and start for NDIS and the
university versus the physical needs of a bus to get you around campus or a moped to
get you around campus? MICHELLE: The way I look at it is just compare
it to whether another student requires it or not. If you are doing a course and part
of that course requires you to attend a field trip somewhere and it’s part of your responsibility
as a student to do that independently, then you could in theory use your NDIS plan funding
for that, because it’s not being provided by the university as a standard. Does that
make sense? Whereas if the university is providing a bus
or some sort of transport to the field trip then it’s the university’s responsibility
to provide whatever accessible transport that person might require. Other people do not
require mobility or orientation. That is purely related to a person’s eyesight and disability
condition for which they’re eligible for the scheme — then that is, in my mind, very clearly
an NDIS responsibility. Because no other students are getting mobility and orientation. CHELLE: You’ve just taught me something. DARLENE: Sorry, Michelle? CHELLE: I said Michelle has just taught me
something then, because from my experience orientation and mobility training I would
still contact Guide Dogs and they would come out and they would spend time prior to the
semester and during the semester and even in the second semester when classes change,
would come back and do some further orientation to new classrooms, new spaces, et cetera. DARLENE: And you would fund that? CHELLE: No. Guide Dogs would just say — and
at the moment we haven’t had an instance where we’ve been asked for payment of any kind by
either the participant or us. It is just a service that they provide. DARLENE: Previously they did, because they
were bulk funded. Previously. Now that they’re not bulk funded under the insurance scheme
they are individually funded, there have been some questions raised. We certainly asked
NDIA to clarify around this issue, and they’ve come back saying, no, they do see that the
NDIA are actually responsible to fund that. MICHELLE: Good. So they should. DARLENE: And that it sits under the principles.
Jane, there are principles. There’s two kind of important pages that you can access. There’s
the COAG agreement, which provides the principles of agreement between the further education
sector and — all mainstream services and the insurance scheme. And then there’s also
some operational guidelines, which we discovered today again. So we’ll put that into the chat
box for people to access. It will kind of unpack some of these grey areas. Not all of
them, but it gives you a little bit of the principles behind some of the thought about
who is responsible as a mainstream service. MICHELLE: When they’re decision-making, the
NDIA always go back to the series of questions. If a support answers yes to all of those questions,
then it’s clearly with the NDIA’s plan to fund. DARLENE: Okay. Just another question around
study goals. So often as practitioners, you know, you may come across students with disability
and you may need to provide advice on how they can ensure their plan actually meets
their need. What study goals do you see working well in students’ plans, if you’ve actually
worked with any individual students or seen anybody’s plan? Are there any generalist principles?
Chelle, have you come across anything in this? CHELLE: Thanks for putting me on the spot,
Darlene. That’s okay. Look, I think there’s been a great variation in students who have
had additional, let’s call it, mentoring support included in their plan and those who haven’t. The variation, I think, exists in terms of
those who are self-managing as opposed to those who have a coordinator of supports,
which from a meeting I was at with a participant last week, they’re being minimised. So, plans
are going to be either agency managed or self-managed. If you’re self-managed, there’s a lot more
flexibility in how you use some of those funds. I’m talking about ethically using them. I’m
not talking about doing anything to undermine what they’re there for, but there is some
licence, I suppose, in looking at what is in each of those categories and how do I best
use that funding to support my need, whether that be my educational goal or whether that
be capacity building in some other form. So, it depends what that initial conversation
has been like, how good the plan is and then how creative the student is about how to use
what’s in that plan, but also how to effectively use the on-campus services that exist for
everyone regardless. DARLENE: Anybody want to add anything to that?
You’re all good? MEREDITH: Sorry. At TAFE we work under our
RTO standards, which do require us to undertake pre-entry enrolment and interviews with our
students. So, at that first point of contact we’re all about informing the students to
make the right choice, identifying whether the entry level’s appropriate, establishing
a good entry level. In TAFE Qld we have career counsellors that the students can access to
assist them to formulate a plan. If they are students that are working with our team and
they have an accessibility plan, we establish what their short and longer term goals are
in regard to their education. Part of our team’s role is also to be tracking and making
sure they are working through okay and achieving their goals. Like any student, all of our
students are provided with that opportunity to get that feedback and make adjustments
to their plans in education as necessary. DARLENE: Brilliant. I might take this opportunity
to do a plug. Hopefully a lot of you know that on ADCET we actually have a resource
called — it’s ultimately called Getting the Right Support at the Right Time from the Right
People. So, it’s an NDIS pre-planning toolkit for people with disabilities entering into
further education. That’s an NDCO developed resource. It’s broken into eight booklets
for the different disability types. The main disability types. It kind of unpacks what
your expectations should be around what’s the university or TAFE providing you, and
what the expectations are around NDIS. We’ll put that in the chat pod. If you haven’t heard
of that, take a look at it. We might move on to the case study now. We
have talked a little bit about autism, and it is a student on the autism spectrum. We
probably have answered some of these questions, but maybe something else might fall out of
this. Jack is a 20-year-old student on the autism
spectrum and is an NDIS participant. He’s received an offer to study at a university
next year. He will live on campus. His mother is concerned that Jack doesn’t manage his
finances very well or cook for himself. The impact of his disability means Jack has poor
organisational skills and, if focused on a task, can go a day or so without eating or
drinking. Jack finds it hard to understand the unwritten rules and nuances of social
communication. He struggles to start and finish conversations and can come across abrupt and
rude to others. He has a keen interest in science, microbiology
and biological chemistry, and plans to start a science degree doing three subjects a semester.
Despite his passion and knowledge of the subject, it is identified in his planning meeting at
university before starting university that Jack is going to struggle with long lab classes.
He’ll may find it difficult to align time with questions in exams. He can become overwhelmed
by what to study. He will struggle being in an exam room with others as noise and activity
would distract him, and also he has hypersensitivity to people, lights and noise. Jack also will find it difficult to work in
small groups. He won’t approach academic staff if he has issues, and he doesn’t manage his
time well. He becomes overwhelmed with new information and he struggles to make friends
as he can’t initiate conversation and he feels people judge him harshly. So, just over to the university stuff for
the moment, what kind of things would you put in as a university to support Jack to
succeed in his study? So, Chelle or Michelle? CHELLE: Luckily we have a specialist peer
mentor program. So, we’ve trained students who are in their second, third and fourth
years of OT, teaching, psychology degree to be peer mentors for students with autism and
related conditions. Those students are paid by us. We have regular meetings with them
for supervision purposes, and they also run a social group. The case study talks about
the academic side for Jack as well as Jack struggles to make friends. The mentor who
can be available to talk to Jack for up to an hour each week, and will also do some social
stuff with him, can support that. Anyone that’s living on campus and struggling
to cook, to clean, et cetera, I would say NDIS can be providing support through funding
someone to come on campus and help with some capacity building for Jack, whether that be
daily — we know we have students who have someone come to them each day, make sure they
get up, make sure they take their medication and make sure they get ready in a timely manner
to come to campus. That depends very much on the evidence that that person has gathered
to say that that support is required. There are cases that I know of definitely where
those things have helped and have made an awful lot of difference to the student’s attendance
and their ability to function within the new learning environment. DARLENE: Michelle, anything for you? MICHELLE: Yes. Similarly to Michelle, we have
a student transition and retention STAR, mentor program. Again, that’s paid students who we
assign to new students, particularly those on the spectrum, and they provide support
for orientation around campus, for social connections, for all of that kind of beginning
process. We would also talk to that person about considering
a reduced study load. We have an opportunity to offer them an alternative exam venue, alternative
exam arrangements around his anxiety in those situations. We’ve started putting in participation
assistance, particularly for students on the spectrum who go beyond what the STAR person
does. Participation assistance is focused more on the academic planning, what it means
to map out all the assignments and things you have for the term or the semester, looking
at setting target dates of when things need to be done by. All of that executive functioning
stuff that they struggle with. I agree with Michelle in terms of anything
related to activities of daily living would be — are supposed to be assisted with funding
from the NDIS. DARLENE: So with participation — I suppose
for me those participation supports, that’s once again that grey area where, through your
plan, you actually could get mentoring support to help you unpack, to help you communicate
with your lecturers and so forth. But the university is also looking at supporting with
that or is it more in class? MICHELLE: We try not to do in-class support.
There’s been a number of academics who are struggling with the behaviours that some students
are exhibiting in class. We offer lots of training and support to them, but obviously
they don’t tend to take that up. Certainly not before. They might later, but certainly
not before. We’ve had a couple of situations where a student
has been so-called banned from a classroom because the lecturer refused to let them back
in without side-by-side support. So, we’ve had to negotiate through that. DARLENE: But you still wouldn’t see that as
NDIS, because I suppose often behavioural support — especially in the TAFE environment,
if someone can’t manage their behaviour or whatever is — it’s up to the NDIS to support. MICHELLE: We would support them accessing
that external to the university, and then we kind of do a phase back in approach in
terms of support. But we try to give them the participation and mentoring support outside
of the classroom wherever possible. DARLENE: Okay. That’s great. Well, a year
later Jack hasn’t done as well as he’d hoped. He got a distinction in one of the units with
the area of interest, but he failed two other units that were more generalist. He decided
he wants to study ICT now and is looking at attending his local TAFE. So now, Meredith, Jack is coming your way.
What supports and adjustments will you be offering Jack and what suggestions can you
make to help him manage his NDIS plan? MEREDITH: Okay. The first thing I would do
with Jack is meet with him, arrange to meet with him, sit down and have a conversation
and get some more information regarding his career interests. I mean, I would be digging down to find out
why is it that he’s wanting to pursue a pathway in ICT. We don’t know whether that was the
area that he succeeded in at university. You know, often we get students come in that want
to go down a particular pathway because they’ve got a friend or relative or someone has encouraged
it. I’d have that conversation with him. I would be referring him to go and meet with
our careers counsellor, who would do some further work in that area just to really gauge
what it is that he wants to do and is it ICT. Also at that time I would look into where
his core skills are. So, you know, having a look at what was it that impacted on his
success in the university. Possibly he’s got some gaps in his skills with his reading,
writing, numeracy, his learning as well that are impacting on his learning. So, not just
the impact of disability. Once we determine what it is that Jack wants
to do, and if it is this ICT pathway, I then look at how the course is actually delivered.
What’s our timeframe, what modes of delivery? Where? Is he on campus? Is he external? I
get verification of disability and I also ask for any previous educational plans that
he’s had. It could have been through school or if he’s got something from university that
enables me to determine and have conversation with him around what worked well for him.
It’s all about building their awareness and confidence as well to advocate for themselves
and talk about what is it that they feel needs to be put in place to support them. Then would formulate a learning plan using
similar educational adjustments Michelle mentioned before around planning/time management, you
know, whether we need to put supports in place regularly, having some disability support
tutoring or whether it’s just around that engagement and planning with the teacher. That’s pretty well how we would handle it.
Also determining whether they’ve got the NDIS plan in place and what supports there that
he feels outside of our educational role that would be an enablers for him. DARLENE: Kerryn, anything you wanted to add
to that one, about the scope of your project? KERRYN: When we were researching one of our
projects, the common areas in TAFEs, whether that be canteens, courtyards, et cetera, that
the staff in those areas, whether that’s in the bookshop or those other areas around the
canteen, et cetera, that they all have sufficient training and awareness of interactions with
students with disability. That’s made a huge difference for some TAFEs in Victoria. DARLENE: Brilliant. Excellent. Well, thank
you for that. I’ll let you know how Jack goes in his journey to education. And his journey
with NDIS. We’re just now going over to the questions.
Before we do that, we might put up the second poll, Jane, if you’re right to do that. JANE: Yes. With the first one, 66% said no
and 34% said yes. DARLENE: Very good. Okay. JANE: So that’s sharing it. You should see
it all. DARLENE: Did you feel you are well informed,
66% said no and 34% said yes. Now we’ll get the next one up. While Jane
is doing that, there is a question here around if people are registered with NDIS as a provider.
So, we might ask that after we ask this question. Do you think planners and LACs are well aware
of the supports students could have in their plans to support them to succeed in further
education? So, once again, it’s a yes or no answer. Do you think planners and LACs are
well aware of the supports students could have in their plans to support them to succeed
in further education? I’ll just give you a — so I’ve been stopping talking because I
was worried that the captioning doesn’t work, but it appears to keep working so that’s good.
Yes. So, are people registered as a provider? Is the university or TAFE a registered provider
with the NDIA? Michelle Anderson? MICHELLE: Not yet, but I know that it is in
consideration. DARLENE: Michelle? CHELLE: Not something we’ve considered, no. DARLENE: Meredith? MEREDITH: No. TAFE Qld aren’t considering
it, either. DARLENE: For — MICHELLE: Darlene, I’ll just qualify that.
The section of the university that’s considering it would be our health sciences division in
terms of delivering services in a clinical setting on a fee-for-service basis. DARLENE: Very good. I think ours is as well. KERRYN: There’s a couple of TAFEs in Victoria,
but one in particular that has registered as a provider and actually provides personal
support as a provider. DARLENE: I’m sure Tas TAFE won’t mind me talking
about this. We’ve had the NDIS here in Tasmania for about six years now. They started off
as a registered provider to do just that, personal care and so forth, because previously
the state government did fund some support workers on campus within TAFE, especially
for the cert 1s they were doing for people with significant disabilities. They registered.
But then they found the difficulty of permanency. So, if staff were working consistently over
the time they would become a permanent state employee, but they may not necessarily have
the students the next year they would actually be receiving the funding in their plan. They now actually outsource it to an NGO to
put the support in to the class, so they’ve got over that situation. Yes. Okay. Keep going.
There’s lots of questions. Thank you, everybody. We’re not going to get to them all, but I’ll
ask a few now. Somebody has actually had some feedback from deaf students as well as Auslan
interpreter providers that NDIS does not allow students to use interpreter funds on campus,
even if it’s for social events such as student clubs. Has anybody else had that experience?
About the social versus class support? No? CHELLE: I have paid for an Auslan interpreter
to attend a social event, because they’re so few and far between to me that little bit
of additional assistance is good in terms of reputation for the university. DARLENE: Yes. I suppose it should be in the
individual’s plan, anyway. They should have that flexibility to be able to use their dollars
to prioritise their Auslan, but it would also be good for you as an organisation, if you’ve
got an event, you would hope you would be encouraging them to have Auslan interpreting
if people have named it as that’s what their needs are. But I still think if the individual
is wanting to have a conversation in the cafe with his mates or her mates, that isn’t the
responsibility of the education provider. Okay. Can NDIS cover content tuition and/or training
in technology? I think the training and technology, does anybody want to answer that one? MICHELLE: If a piece of technology has been
purchased with NDIS funds, then any training associated with that should be paid for with
the funds. That’s pretty much the kind of basic way to work it out. So, if they only
require the AT or software in a specific educational setting, then you might say that that’s the
institution’s responsibility. But if it’s something they already have and use in multiple
domains, then it goes to the NDIS plan. DARLENE: Yep. Any other comments for that? CHELLE: No, other than if it’s a reasonable
adjustment it’s obviously the university who are providing the training. DARLENE: Okay. Now, someone has asked: can
NDIS refuse wheelchair support to a student as long as he or she is studying? I don’t
quite understand that question. Do you think that would be more personal care or would
that be assisting someone out of their car? Can anybody interpret that question? CHELLE: Or is someone saying the student needs
a new wheelchair in order to navigate the terrain of the particular university and a
new chair isn’t being funded? Because I do know of someone at the moment who has had
a particular chair that they think they would require and that an OT has assessed them requiring
has had that knocked back by the agency, and it’s gone to appeal. I don’t know what the
question is asking, but it could be anything. MICHELLE: Contextual really. DARLENE: Yes. There’s still
a lot more questions around that divide between academic support and personal support. Describe
the role of university employed assistants for students alongside NDIS supplied support
workers? Is there anything else people want to add
to what we have already said about that to make it a little clearer? Or do you think
we have covered it off? CHELLE: I would like to know how Michelle
is managing to fund these student transition staff to work so closely, because we would
have so many students that would require that it’s just financially not appropriate. MICHELLE: It’s only for those — it’s not
for every student. We allocate between 6 and 10 hours only. CHELLE: Okay. MICHELLE: That’s how. DARLENE: I’ve seen a lot of examples of people
successfully receiving mentoring support. Being able to fund mentors within their NDIS
— have it in their NDIS plan, and that’s to help them communicate with lecturers to
help them unpack their study load. I think it’s really important — if that’s going to
set the student up to succeed and it’s over and above what universities and TAFES can
provide, then the NDIS plan, you would hope, would be flexible enough to be able to utilise
that. But it’s using the right words, I think. We’re talking about that prior to the forum
today. Sometimes you have to know the right words to use, because if you went into your
planning meeting and said, “I need tutorial support, the LAC or planner would say, “No,
no. That’s the university or TAFE’s responsibility.” But if you say you need mentoring support
to help you navigate, to communicate effectively, to manage your time and to unpack your assignments,
they would probably fund that. Helping students understand the wording that
they use is going to impact on their thing. Okay. So, just finishing up, what about the
communication lines between further education and the LACs? Has anybody had some good experiences
or are people seeing how we can better facilitate more communication between the NDIS funded
providers and the further education sector? MICHELLE: I was approached by one of our LACs
here in South Australia earlier in the year. They approached me and said, “We’d love
to come and meet you. Find out what your points of contention are, what you offer, what we
offer, what the interplay could be.” I thought that was really great. They were really interested
in understanding what we could offer as a university and how that would then interact
with a plan perhaps. I was just going to say, only one provider has done that; none of the
others have. CHELLE: Darlene, I think for those universities
that have NDCOs working with them, there’s a great opportunity for the NDCOs to start
and open up those lines of communication with LACs. I know I’ve got relationships with a number
of LACs, but they change over time, and it’s really hard to keep tabs on who they are. DARLENE: Yes. I mean, I suppose it’s for the
NDCO program, I suppose, looking at that strategically, too, at how we can work with the NDIA to ensure
that their staff, as a broader thing, are skilled and have knowledge in this area. One of the things I’ve recently discovered,
I think there was data collected on outcomes for NDIS participants. I think 33 per cent
felt that they couldn’t study what they wanted to study or receive the supports. I’m probably
talking out of school because I haven’t got the quote, but the numbers were quite low
in regard to people accessing further education. I think there’s a lot of work that still needs
to be done to ensure that people with a disability see that as a viable pathway in and can succeed. CHELLE: I suppose the other thing we ask when
we register a student for support is, do you have an NDIS plan? Because for some they say,
“No, what’s that?” And then that opens up another opportunity for us to have a conversation,
and there are quite a number where we’ve said, “It seems that you’re eligible. You need
to check your eligibility and here’s how you can do that.” We ask that question specifically
upon registration to either have that further conversation or look at whether what they’ve
got — and we won’t go line by line through a plan, but we’ll talk to them about those
things that they might consider next time they go for another preplanning meeting. DARLENE: Michelle Anderson, do you ask if
they’ve got a plan? MICHELLE: We haven’t been, but that’s something
I’d like to integrate into our system. We just can’t record it. We ask verbally, but
we haven’t got a place to record that at the moment. It’s just in a note. DARLENE: Yes. Meredith, what about for your
TAFE? MEREDITH: Yes, I have been starting — and
I know some of my colleagues at the other campuses have as well — starting to ask that
with the students, and I also get in that position where the student or the parent if
they’re under 18 will actually say to me, “What is that? I don’t know what it is.”
That is an opportunity to give them some information and refer them. On the LACs and networks, I know my colleagues
across TAFE have asked about improving on how we actually have opportunities to meet
and get to know who our regional LACs are and work closer with them. I think that’s
a really great initiative. DARLENE: Excellent. Kerryn, is it something
that your project is looking at at all, if TAFEs in Victoria are knowledgeable around
who has plans and who doesn’t? KERRYN: Yes. We’ve been working with the NDIA
and our LAC providers, there are only three in Victoria, to see whether TAFE can provide
training to the LACs. So, we are going through that channel as well through our project,
but I’ve been actively talking to TAFEs about establishing the connection and relationship
with their LAC and ECEI partners. DARLENE: Excellent. Looking at the time, it’s
gone quickly and I’ll be able to sleep tonight. So, any final comments from people? You’re
all good. We’ve got some fantastic questions we’ll go through. If we haven’t answered your
question — JANE: It’s Jane here. We will pop the poll
up. DARLENE: I have to get used to this. The outcome
of the poll is, do you think — interesting. No. So, 91 per cent of people think that LACs
and planners don’t have – are aware of what kinds of supports to help students succeed
in their study. That’s very telling. That’s brilliant. Thank you, everybody, for participating
in the polls. Thank you for putting in questions. I’ve noticed there have been answers as well.
That’s been fantastic. We’ve had over 50 questions asked. That’s a huge interaction, which is
fantastic. Thank you so much to the panel members. It’s a huge ask. We’ve had lots of
toing and froing, but I really appreciate your time. It’s invaluable to start these
discussions. We will be sending out a survey. I hope this
is just one of many. I think there are lots of different topics we could do in panel discussion,
and we could probably even do more around the NDIA/NDIS space as well. So, thank you,
everybody, for your time. Just a quick plug: our next webinar is on 17 October, which will
be another panel discussion. Now that we’ve started we’re not going to stop. We’ve actually
inviting students who have a learning disability to talk about their experience within further
education with learning disabilities. So really looking forward to that one. But I thank you
the four panel members for letting me play in this space for the first time. It’s something
we haven’t done. I always like challenging myself with new things each couple of years.
Thank you, everybody, online. Thank you to the captioner as well, and Jane and David
in the back end. It was fantastic to have you all join us and we look forward to catching
up next time. Thank you.

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