Providing adequate access, assistance and equipment for children with special needs is expensive, however funding is often available.
Children who are enrolled in school are eligible for funding for physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to support the student with the educational curriculum, including access, mobility and participation.
Funding is also for integration aides and equipment. Schools may be eligible for additional funding for building works (to provide disabled access). This often requires a separate application process.
Funding for Students with Disabilities in Victorian Government schools
Funding for children in Government schools is based on a student disabilities index. Funding is provided by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD). Students are assigned a level of funding according to their level of need.
Funding for students in independent schools
Association of Independent Schools Victoria (AISV): AISV administers funding for students eligible for support under the Victorian Government State Support Services Programme. Students are approved for a number of hours for the year, and an hourly rate is set for funding based on the amount allocated by the Victorian Government and the total number of hours approved in all schools.
Schools are provided with funds to support eligible students for example children with an intellectual or physical disability, to access mainstream education. Additional funds are also available for eligible students with physical disabilities for physiotherapy and occupational therapy. (Students with learning difficulties are not eligible under this programme).
Applications for funding through the AISV specifically requires the use of standardised assessments such as the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, Second Edition (BOT2) to provide evidence of the student’s physical limitations. Stepping Forward physiotherapists are able to provide this assessment and the associated report needed. Contact us.
Funding for Students within the Catholic Education System
Funding is available through the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria. There are 7 categories in which students may be eligible for funding, including physical disability. Stepping Forward physiotherapists can provide assessments and reports to support your application for funding.
Alternative sources of funding
In some situations the student’s physiotherapy related needs do not fall under the scope of supporting their educational curriculum and/or additional funding is needed. For example: Funding for physiotherapy to develop of home programs or to prescribe and source equipment such as wheelchairs and orthoses.
Alternative/ Additional sources of funding can be found under the following:
Better Start Early Intervention (FaHCSIA): Eligible children are aged under six years and have been diagnosed with a disability such as Down syndrome or cerebral palsy. This entitles the child up to $12,000 in funding for early intervention services and treatments. Parents or carers of eligible children need to register their child for the Better Start early intervention funding before the child turns six.
Medicare Better Start Medicare Program: This includes items in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) that provide therapy assessment and intervention such as physiotherapy and individual assistance packages for children with disability, their families and carers.
Once approved, Medicare will rebate a portion of the session fee. Children under 15 years of age with a suspected disability, can claim up to 4 sessions for assessment. Children under 15 years of age with a Cerebral Palsy, Fragile X, Downs Syndrome, Hearing Impairment and/or Vision Impairment can claim up to 20 sessions of ongoing therapy.
Chronic Disease Management Plan: This is a government initiative that aims to coordinate healthcare teams to provide you with better, comprehensive care for people a chronic or terminal condition who may also have complex (team) care needs. Families can claim a Medicare rebate on up to 5 allied health services each calendar year on referral from your GP.
Private Health: The amount of funding available for the child depends on the family’s insurance agency and their level of cover. Additionally, if they family does not have private health insurance but are considering it, the Medicare Private Health Insurance Rebate reduces the amount they pay for private health insurance.
Additional funding for equipment
State Wide Equipment Program (SWEP): The Victorian State-wide equipment program (SWEP) provides people with a permanent or long-term disability with subsidised aids and equipment. SWEP aims to enhance the independence and safety of people with a disability in their own home, facilitate their participation in the community and support families and carers.
Although SWEP funded equipment is to be used in the home and community, rather than specifically an educational setting, mobility and seating equipment is often used in a variety of settings.
What do I do from here?
To access many of the funding options, students must be assessed as eligible in one of the categories of disability. A thorough report from a Stepping Forward physiotherapist that includes results from a standardised assessment (such as the BOT2) can quantify a child’s eligibility.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is set to roll out in Victoria beginning in July, 2016. NDIS will provide disability support to assist people with a disability to work towards functional goals. This includes funding physiotherapy. For more information about the NDIS, see http://www.ndis.gov.au/document/what-national-disability-insuran
As you can see there are many sources of funding available. If you would like to know more about how Stepping Forward Therapy Services can help access this funding, then please contact us on 9899 4004.