The NDIS Has Done A Study On The Impact Of Behaviour Practitioners Plans – I Hope They Aren’t Surprised By The Results.
We work with some absolutely fantastic Behavior Support Practitioners and they are worth their weight in gold. They know people well and they do work that ends up with people moving past some very difficult times. Some other Practitioners we work with are not so crash hot.
The difference in quality should not surprise anyone. The NDIS opened the flood gates and thousands of Behavioural Practitioner and therapy hours, many from people and organisations who previously had little or no interest or experience in disability , flowed through them. Trying to ensure quality across the board would be hard for anyone. Even so you may be surprised at what a report into the quality of Behavior Support Plans funded by the NDIS found.
You know those behavior support plan practitioners who charge up to $214 an hour to solve some issues with you- when their actual work was assessed, the results are not encouraging.
The NDIS Commission classified the quality of Behaviour Support Plans (2744 of them form across Australia) into 4 performance categories, Weak or Underdeveloped ( I think we can classify these two as not very good or useful,) Good and Superior.
These 4 performance items were measured against a Behavior Plans likely capacity to bring about positive change for a person and whether the plan represented best practice.
What Did the NDIS Commission Study Find
Given the amount of money and need these plans represent across Australia this is pretty outrageous and disappointing.
But you may not want to be worrying about the value for money and needs across all of Australia. I am sure the NDIS and others are worried enough. You really just need to be worried about the support you are getting and that when a Behavioural Practitioner, or other therapist, comes into your life that they are adding the value they should.
None of us is perfect, all services, including us, get things wrong, but these figures are definitely something to worry about and hopefully encourage you, if you haven’t already, to take a closer look at who you are inviting in to help you out with some extremely difficult issues.
The NDIS says that in response to these findings that it is undertaking a series of actions to lift the skills of practitioners and improve the quality of plans. Good on them for that, but it sounds like that is going to take a long time. In the meantime there are some things that you can do that may help to improve your chances of getting a better outcome from their involvement. Most of this happens before you employ them, you are entitled to ask lots of questions and you are entitled to say no, you do not sound focused or experienced enough.
Some things you may want to think about when choosing a Practitioner or Therapist :
Before selecting a practitioner/therapist to help you out here are some of the things you may want to be asking them or things that you may want to think about:
• Ask about what specific experience they have in dealing with the sorts of issues that your son or daughter is trying to deal with.
• A lot of therapists start off being generalists. Ask them what specialist knowledge, if any, they have in the area that you’re asking them for support in. It’s helpful to know they have a longer term interest and have specifically studied the things that are important to you.
• Ask about how they are staying current and applying current best practice. We come across therapists (as the report did) who are using language and references that are old and don’t represent current practice. Are they having regular training etc.
• Some therapists reports are all over the place and are hard to use. Ask the therapist if they can provide you with a de-identified report they have done previously. You may or may not be in a position to interpret all the information but you should be able to understand it, you should be able to see that the therapist has learnt about the person and their issues and has provided sensible responses. Most importantly see that there are clear and functional outcomes that can be understood and implemented by you and others.
• Talk to them about the sorts of things they would think about, or have put in place in the past, to prevent or reduce restrictive practices rather than introduce them.
• It is likely that you will want your therapist to be providing training to direct support staff so talk to them about their experience and availability to do this training.
• Especially with behaviour therapists, but others as well, talk to them about what their process is. When asked this question, the best therapists we know will say they need to know who the person is, and will want to take some time to build a relationship and get to know them before starting to fill in forms.
• Be careful of large companies. If you know a specific therapist or have been recommended one who works for a large company, then you of course should approach them. Be careful of just knocking on the door a large therapy provider, or a company that has grown very quickly, and asking for help. The range of supports we have experienced with these companies ranges from fantastic to absolute rubbish with some mediocre in-between. (The quality of the practitioner in large companies, depends on individual people, not the company itself). We usually are finding two things with big companies and those that grow very rapidly:
To view the NDIS report of its findings into the quality of Behavior Management Plans copy and paste the link below into your internet browser: