Brooke Canham, Policy Officer at Inclusion Australia, shares her experience attending the NDIS Intellectual Disability Reference Group meeting in Melbourne.
The NDIS Intellectual Disability Reference Group (IDRG) is part of the Independent Advisory Council which provides advice to the Board or the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) The IDRG makes make sure the voices of people with an intellectual disability are heard more clearly by the NDIS.
Brooke Canham, Policy Officer at Inclusion Australia is a member of the IDRG. She recently attended their meeting in Melbourne.
Why did you go to Melbourne?
I went to Melbourne for a meeting called the Intellectual Disability Reference Group (IDRG). The meetings take place in different places around Australia. My first meeting was in Adelaide in August.
What happened when you arrived?
On the first day we had a pre-meeting with all the members who have an intellectual disability. We went through the agenda for the meeting to help us prepare.
It was good to see the IDRG members again. I felt less nervous this time. I was able to speak up on the big topics, and I felt like I was able to have my voice heard.
On the second day we got to have morning tea and mingle before the meeting. Then the meeting commenced, and I was able to speak up and share my thoughts and ideas.
On the third day we started the meeting earlier, so we were able to chat during morning tea. Then Kurt Fearnely arrived, and we got to take group photos and have a quick chat with him. Kurt is the Chair of the NDIS Board. He stayed for lunch, and the meeting too.
What were the big topics people talked about?
- making the IDRG more accessible and inclusive for people with an intellectual disability
- making NDIS plans more accessible
- the NDIS Reform for Outcomes program
The NDIS Reform for Outcomes program is about looking at 6 big things that the NDIS needs to do better. The 6 big things will be looked at with people with disability and the disability community so the NDIS can give better support to participants.
You can read more about the NDIS Reform for Outcomes here: www.ndis.gov.au/community/have-your-say/co-designing-reform
Did you have a chance to meet and talk to the other IDRG members?
I got a chance to meet everyone who came to the meeting. I also got to meet the other people with an intellectual disability at the pre-meeting and have a good chat.
What are some things you shared with the IDRG about the big topics?
I spoke a lot about accessibility. I spoke about making sure that the IDRG meeting is more accessible for people with an intellectual disability.
We also talked about making sure NDIS plans are accessible.
Some ideas to make NDIS plans more accessible were:
- plans and information in Easy Read
- having your plan in order so it is easy to understand
- having each part colour-coded
- clear information about funding
The last meeting was in Adelaide, and we talked about having some accessible things for the meeting, like traffic light cards. They were then used at the Melbourne meeting and were a big success! It made me feel like I was getting heard as you raise a card to share your question with the group.
How did it feel to meet Kurt Fearnley and to have him at the meeting?
I felt very excited when they said Kurt Fearnely was going to be at the meeting. It was nice to have a chat with him. He also listened in on what we were talking about on the last day of the meeting. I also felt happy when I got a photo with Kurt Fearnley.
What is one thing you hope the IDRG can achieve for people with an intellectual disability?
I like that the group is led by people who have an intellectual disability. It gives people with an intellectual disability a chance to speak up and talk about what they would like to see in the future.
Read about Brooke’s first meeting with the IDRG here: www.inclusionaustralia.org.au/speaking-up-at-the-idrg/
You can read more about the IAC here: www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/governance/independent-advisory-council