ADEC, Multiculturalism and the NDIS Roll-out

alphasmADEC has been quite busy assisting clients from non-English speaking backgrounds to access the NDIS and other disability services. Since the roll-out of the NDIS in North Eastern Melbourne Area (NEMA) a large number of clients from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities (CALD) have been approaching ADEC seeking assistance around understanding the NDIS. Finding out what it means for individuals with disability and their families and how to access the funding and services.

Those living with disabilities, their carers and families (from CALD communities) often experience numerous and complex layers of challenges including: low level participation, under representation, language barriers, lack of knowledge about the NDIS and poor access to other main stream disability services. These complex challenges lead to the creation of a huge gap in accessing NDIS and other disability services between CALD communities and the wider Australian communities.

ADEC’s bilingual support team work closely with people from CALD communities to bridge the gap and difficulties they face by addressing the primary causes including raising awareness, advocating on the behalf of clients and providing them with information and referrals about available disability services.  Our team provide independent support to these disadvantaged clients from CALD communities by representing their rights and assisting them to reinforce their voices and their participation.  Support workers help clients with NDIS pre-planning and provide support to ensure that people from CALD communities are able to access the NDIS and not be excluded due to various barriers.

Case Study
A single mother from a Vietnamese background who provides care for her 22 year old son with severe Autism disorder, severe intellectual disability and behaviours of concern, contacted ADEC for urgent assistance to access NDIS funding. The client explained to ADEC’s NDIS team that she has been receiving  phone calls from the NDIS planner to meet the family for a planning meeting to establish her son’s eligibility to access the NDIS funding. The client speaks very little English and does not understand how the system works in Australia. The client had very little understanding of the NDIS and the disability services available for her son living with disability. She wanted more information about NDIS and how it works and assistance with pre-planning to establish learning goals and a support plan for her son.

Despite pleading her case to various disability support agencies, the client was unable to secure culturally appropriate support that meets her needs and the needs of her son with disability. An ADEC bilingual support worker became involved in helping the client to complete NDIS pre-planning, including setting learning goals and planning support for her son with disability. The support worker also accompanied the client and her son to the NDIS planning meeting and supported them during the discussion of their care plan. The ADEC support worker, worked in partnership with the client to facilitate communication between her and the NDIS and assisted her to collect all medical reports from specialists and complete all NDIS related forms. The case was successfully resolved.

If you have any questions in relation to the NDIS, or accessing other support services, please get in touch with us on: 03 9480 7000 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.     

Dr Alpha Lisimba – Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities Inc.