Windaan presents at the National Disability Summit 2018

The National Disability Summit held on 20-21 August 2018 in Melbourne brought individuals and experts together to discuss the progress and initiatives in supporting people with disabilities and their families.

Delegates had the unique opportunity to network with senior figures from the disability sector and hear from industry professionals. The presentations covered a range of issues and challenges currently experienced by the disability sector with the roll-out of the NDIS and provided a unique insight into the ways in which the sector is addressing these challenges.

Growing Potential’s Executive General Manager, Dylan Reynolds, and Manager of Windaan Aboriginal Services, Joseph Archibald, were invited to share their expertise in cross-sector collaboration for early intervention outcomes in Indigenous children.

Dylan spoke about disability in the Aboriginal community, what he and the team learned from speaking to those in the community and how Growing Potential is focused on building innovative solutions to provide positive outcomes.

Aboriginal people are between two and three times more likely to suffer a long-term health issue or disability in their lifetime and are far less likely to engage the formal disability system. This shows that there continues to be a lot of unmet needs in the Aboriginal community.

Growing Potential looked at the recent changes to the NDIS as an opportunity rather than a challenge, finding ways to deliver outcomes within the existing framework. We identified that an organisation was needed that was agile and flexible and able to work with the needs of the community. That’s when Windaan was developed.

The most effective way to engage each community is to work proactively with that infrastructure that’s already there. The community may already have an Aboriginal health service and/or a community organisation, which gives an opportunity to establish an NDIS infrastructure that can deliver outcomes and make positive change.

The foundation of Windaan is about connecting to the community, employing Aboriginal people who are connected in the community and providing opportunities to connect and complement other services within the Aboriginal community.

As the manager of Windaan, Joseph is working collaboratively with key partners to develop cross-sector models of service that recognise and reflect the individual and cultural needs of all clients.

When linking with a mental health nurse, we found that 90% of families were waiting 5 or more months to determine if they were eligible for the NDIS – that’s before getting a funding package. To respond to this, we had to create an abundance model and utilise our strengths in the community. We created a space that families could come in and find out the services that were available. So we connect families with supported playgroups, allied therapy visits, services like Ability Links, Aboriginal health workers and Elders within our communities.

The Windaan service also provides telehealth services, coordination of supports, daily living skills, support work and more. After a year in operation, Windaan continues to go from strength to strength and we can see the positive impact it’s having on the community.

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