Sport can play a pivotal role in promoting physical fitness, social interaction, and overall well-being by allowing individuals to showcase their abilities, develop leadership skills, and foster a sense of community. Recognising the importance of inclusive sports, the NDIS has implemented rules and regulations to encourage capacity building and community engagement for people with disabilities and to help provide access to assistive technology for sports.
Capacity building & community engagement
Recently, First2Care sponsored the Queensland Open Blind and Low Vision Golf. The tournament embraced inclusivity, bringing together a diverse group of athletes. One of those athletes was Steve Art, aged 61, who through this sport overcame challenges and competitors to secure his first-ever victory in the main category.
“To win the stableford division at the 2023 Queensland Blind Open is beyond words. This victory is a result of hours of practice, the coaching and support of Mark from Big Tooks Sports, and Jasmin from Golfer Girl Australia, along with the unwavering dedication of my wonderful wife, Sue.” Steve Art.
While funding for community engagement is a fundamental component of the NDIS, there are some costs that are not likely to be covered, such as:
Standard costs including registration fees, uniforms, or entry fees
Transport costs for children, as it would normally be expected for parents to transports their kids to and from sporting activities
Costs associated with elite-level participation, such as accommodation for a multi-day tournament
It's always a good idea to discuss your sports-related goals with your LAC or NDIA representative during your planning meeting to ensure you can receive the support you need. When you have your NDIS plan funding, check with your support coordinator, plan manager or disability advocate about how to best use your funding, and what parametres there may be.
Assistive Technology for Sport
Assistive technologies for sports encompasses a wide range of equipment, from modified golf clubs for vision impairment to specialised wheelchairs for powerchair football. These technologies not only enable individuals to partake in sports but can also enhance their performance, confidence, and ultimately their overall quality of life. However, accessing such technologies can be tricky depending on the nature of an individual plan, as the NDIS has specific rules around assistive technology.
“The NDIS has allowed people like me to pursue our passions such as sport. Through the scheme, we can now receive funding for support workers to take us to powerchair football matches and for the equipment we need to participate.” Tristram Peters.
If a participant expresses a desire to engage in sports as one of their goals and requires assistive technology to do so, reasonable and necessary funding may be included in their plan. It is important to note that the NDIS operates on a case-by-case basis, meaning that funding for assistive technology may not be guaranteed for all participants. The decision is based on an assessment of individual needs and a determination of what is considered reasonable and necessary for that particular participant.
What if I don’t have assistive technology for sport in my plan?
The NDIS has three levels of funding for assistive technology, and anything under $1500 that is not high risk does not require evidence to have it approved within your plan. You will still need to ensure that the item meets the reasonable and necessary criteria. If it meets the criteria, you can purchase the item immediately.
If the item is mid- or high-cost, you will need to prepare suitable evidence from a qualified AT advisor or Assessor.
Ultimately, the NDIS can play a pivotal role in promoting capacity building and community engagement around sport for participants. By allowing funding for assistive technology and supporting necessary training and ongoing support in sports, the NDIS can support participants to participate in activities that bring joy, improved health, and social connections. Through inclusive sports, individuals with disabilities can challenge societal perceptions, grow their potential, and connect with their communities.
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