Hard to Swallow: NDIS funding cuts leave Ellen at risk of choking.

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Ellen is 20 years old and has a swallowing disorder called dysphagia. This means she can be at risk of choking or even dying when she swallows. Up until last year she got good specialist therapeutic support for her swallowing problems but the NDIS decided to stop funding this support in 2017.

Ellen’s Mum Margaret knows how much better it was for Ellen and the family when these specialist therapeutic supports were funded.

“Before the NDIS came …we had all these therapies – speech therapy, OT [occupational therapy] – now the funding is cut. The problem with the new NDIS program is that they think we don’t need things like therapists, OT, physio. We need them… We need them massively included in the NDIS package.”  

Without this support, every mealtime becomes an everyday emergency for Ellen. 

The NDIS has the funds for the specialist swallowing therapy that Ellen needs. But the NDIS is now saying it’s not responsible. The NDIS says the health system should fund swallowing therapy. The problem is that the health system does not have the skills to do so, nor does it have the funds – all the NSW disability funding went to the NDIS.

The NDIS has got it wrong and this is dangerous for people with disability.

Ellen needs these supports in her NDIS package but the NDIS won’t fund them. This has left Ellen’s Mum, Margaret with no other option than to take the NDIS to court.

It shouldn’t be like this.

Ellen and her family should be provided with the same supports they had before the NDIS was introduced.

We are asking new Australian Families and Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher to please resolve this problem and confirm that the NDIS will fund this vital swallowing therapy.

 For more information about dysphagia and the NDIS, visit our website.