Could My Child Be Eligible for NDIS Early Intervention Funding? 

At Kids First Children’s Services, we understand that seeing your child face developmental challenges can be scary and overwhelming. The good news is there’s help available! The NDIS Early Childhood Intervention pathway offers support to young children (under 6) who experience developmental delays, even if they don’t have a formal diagnosis yet. 

Is your child eligible for Early Intervention funding from the NDIS?

What is a Developmental Delay (According to the NDIS)?

The NDIS uses a specific definition for developmental delay when considering a child’s eligibility for support. Here’s what it means: 

  • A delay in a child’s development: This means your child’s development may be following a different path than most children their age. 
     
  • Difficulty with everyday activities: A child with a developmental delay finds it significantly harder to do everyday things that other children their age can do, like dressing independently, talking clearly, or walking. 
     
  • Extra help is needed: Compared to children of the same age, your child requires lots of extra support to manage everyday activities. 

The NDIS Early Childhood Intervention Pathway

The NDIS Early Childhood Intervention pathway is designed to provide critical support to young children who meet this definition of developmental delay. It focuses on helping your child reach their full potential and thrive alongside their peers.  
 
Importantly, this pathway recognises that a formal diagnosis isn’t always necessary to access the support your child needs. 

Early Intervention funding from the NDIS can be life-changing for children and families

The NDIS Focuses on Areas Where Your Child Needs the Most Help

The NDIS believes that Early Intervention support should target delays that significantly impact a child’s ability to do everyday activities compared to their peers. This impact typically needs to be present in at least one of these four important areas: 

  • Self-care: Imagine getting dressed for school. A child with a significant delay in self-care skills might struggle to put on clothes independently, button buttons, or tie shoelaces. They might also need more assistance with toileting, bathing, or eating than other children their age. 
     
  • Receptive and Expressive Language: This refers to both understanding what others say (receptive language) and being able to communicate your own needs and wants (expressive language). A child with a delay in receptive language might have trouble following instructions or understanding stories. A child with an expressive language delay might struggle to use words to express themselves clearly, rely more on gestures, or get frustrated because they can’t be understood. 
     
  • Cognitive Development: This is all about learning and using new information. A child with a cognitive delay might struggle to remember things you tell them, have trouble focusing on tasks, or take longer to learn new skills like counting or colors. They might also have difficulty planning activities, solving problems, or playing pretend games in a way that other children their age do. 
     
  • Motor Development: This includes how your child uses their body to move around and interact with the world. A child with a motor skills delay might have difficulty crawling, climbing stairs, using utensils, or holding a crayon or pencil. They might also seem clumsy or uncoordinated compared to other children. 

Remember: Every child develops at their own pace, and these are just some examples. The NDIS focuses on delays that are significant and require ongoing support from multiple specialists. 

Early Intervention funding from the NDIS can be life-changing for children and families

How Might NDIS Early Intervention Funding Help My Child?

If your child is experiencing developmental delays, the NDIS Early Childhood Intervention pathway can connect them with a team of specialists. This team might include speech therapists, occupational therapists, early childhood educators, or other professionals who can create a personalised plan to address your child’s specific needs. This could include strategies to help them with: 

  • Self-care skills: Dressing independently, using the toilet, or eating without assistance. 
     
  • Communication: Understanding what others say and expressing their own needs and wants clearly. 
     
  • Learning and development: Remembering information, focusing on tasks, and mastering new skills. 
     
  • Movement and coordination: Crawling, climbing, using utensils, or holding a writing tool. 

The goal is to bridge any gaps your child might have and empower them to participate fully in everyday activities. 

Is My Child Eligible?

Eligibility criteria for NDIS Early Intervention supports changed in mid 2023. To be eligible for NDIS Early Intervention funding, your child must meet all the following criteria.  

  • Be younger than 6 years old at the time the NDIS makes a decision on their application. 
     
  • Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. 
     
  • Have a developmental delay caused by a mental or physical impairment. 
     
  • This delay must substantially reduce their ability to do everyday activities compared to other children their age. 
     
  • They need a team of specialists (more than one professional) to provide support for these challenges for longer than 12 months. 
Early Intervention funding from the NDIS helps children with developmental delays

Starting the Process

If you have concerns about your child’s development, the best first step is to talk to a professional who knows your child well. This could be their early childhood educator, paediatrician, or a therapist such as a speech pathologist, occupational therapist, or psychologist. These professionals can assess your child’s development and provide guidance on the best course of action, including whether the NDIS might be a good fit. 

Here are some tips: 

  • Gather Information: Keep track of your child’s development milestones and any specific challenges you observe. 
     
  • Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask professionals for clear explanations and recommendations. 
     
  • Seek Support: There are many resources available to help you on this journey. Kids First Children’s Services is here to offer support and information. 

Need More Information and Advice?

Remember: Early intervention is key! By getting your child the support they need early on, you can help them develop essential skills and reach their full potential. 

Get more information from the NDIS here or contact Kids First’s friendly team on

Contact Kids First for details of Early Intervention and NDIS Support for children

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