How children under 7 can access the NDIS

If your child has a developmental delay or disability, you may be able to get support from the NDIS through the early childhood approach.

This article explains what the early childhood approach is, how to access it and what supports you may be eligible for.

To speak to someone about NDIS for your child, you can call an early childhood partner in your local area. Early childhood partners can help you find the support and services that are right for your situation.

What is the NDIS?

The NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) is a government funded scheme which provides support for people living with a disability.

The NDIS is managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).
To be eligible for the NDIS, you must be aged between 7 and 65 years old and live with a disability that is likely to be lifelong.

Find out more about what the NDIS is and how it works.

If you have a child under 7 years old who has a disability or developmental delay, you may be able to access support through the early childhood early intervention approach.

NDIS for a child under 7 years old

The early childhood early intervention (ECEI) approach is how the NDIS supports children under 7 years old and their families.

If your child is living with a developmental delay or disability, they could be eligible for support from the early childhood approach, even if they are not likely to be eligible for the NDIS when they turn 7.

What is the early childhood early intervention approach?

The purpose of the early childhood approach is to support children and their families to have the best start in life.

That includes:

  • Helping you access supports so your child can grow, learn and work towards their goals.
  • Improving your child's inclusion in the community.
  • Providing information and resources to build your confidence in managing your child's needs.
  • Connecting you with other services and support providers in your local community.

How to access the NDIS for a child

To access the NDIS for a child, you can contact the NDIA directly or you may be referred by a health professional. The steps below explain things to keep in mind during the process.

1. Talk with a health professional

A good first step is to talk with a health or education professional about your child's development. They may recommend you to the NDIA.

You don't need a diagnosis to receive support from the early childhood approach, but you may need to explain how your child's developmental delay or disability impacts their life and why they would benefit from the ECEI (Early Childhood Early Intervention) approach.

You may want to gather supporting evidence such as letters from health professionals, teachers and family members to give the NDIA a picture of your child's life.

2. Contact an early childhood partner

An early childhood partner is a local organisation that the NDIS funds to support your child and family through the early childhood process.

Your local early childhood partner will set up a planning meeting with you to discuss your child's situation and what supports they might need. They can also answer any questions you might have and connect you with other local services that might be relevant.

3. Create your child's plan

The early childhood partner will help create a plan for your child which outlines the types of support and services they can access, as well as the budget they have been allocated.

You are in control of choosing your child's service providers.

Your child's plan will be made in line with your child's goals, the goals you have for your child and what you hope the ECEI support will achieve.

4. Ask for plan management support if you need

If you need help managing your child's plan, including managing invoices and budgets, you can request a plan management professional in your planning meeting. This service is free for you to access.

Another service to consider is a support coordinator. They can help you if you have trouble understanding your child's plan or connecting with service providers.

What happens when your child turns 7?

When your child turns 7 years old, your local early childhood partner can guide you through the next steps.

If your child is living with a permanent disability that affects their ability to participate in everyday tasks, they may be eligible to become an NDIS participant. You may need to complete an access request form and provide supporting evidence from a health professional.

Find out more: How to access the NDIS.

If your child is not eligible for the NDIS once they turn 7, your local early childhood partner can connect you with other supports and services in your local area if you need them.

Do you need support as a parent?

As your child's primary carer, looking after yourself is crucial. Don't be afraid to reach out for help when you need it.

You may be able to access some supports through the ECEI approach such as connecting you with parenting support groups and counselling services.

If you are wanting to get back to work once your child starts school, you could be eligible for the ParentsNext program. If you are living with an injury, illness or disability yourself, you may be eligible for Disability Employment Services.

Head to our Health and Disability blog to find helpful articles about employment and living with an injury, illness or disability, such as jobs for people with ADHD.

You can find more information about the NDIS for a child on the NDIS website.