OnSide customers have a range of different disabilities, from those that happen as a result of an accident, to more complex situations that require that extra level of coordination of services. To learn more about how OnSide manages complex client needs, we spoke to the Lead Support Coordination team, who gave us their insights into the field of Specialist Support Coordination.
What is Specialist Support Coordination?
“Special Support Coordination is the ability to support customers with expertise in the complexity in their life,” OnSide Founder Kollen Sussman explains. “Complexity in this context means more than one element, typically a minimum of three in the customer’s lifestyle, health or environment.”
A person who takes on this role brings a higher level of professional practice and a deeper understanding of the disability and mainstream sectors. One of the key tasks of a Specialist Support Coordinator is to determine where the risks are in the customer’s lifestyle and activate the whole network of support to address them.
How is it different to Support Coordination?
“To be a level two NDIS Support Coordinator, you need to know the technical elements of NDIS requirements, and you roll out a customer’s NDIS plan based on that,” Kollen outlines. “For a Specialist Coordinator, you need to know all of it. Not just the technical elements of the NDIS, but what other service systems can be put in place to support a customer, how to navigate them, how to broker deals with providers and understand the risks that are related to everything.”
Building relationships, possessing excellent communication skills and having an eye for detail are all crucial to success as a Specialist Support Coordinator. Not only do they work with clients, but they also need to liaise with government, care providers and a variety of other stakeholders.
“Outside of setting up rosters of care, it’s more than that,” Kollen identifies. “The relationships you build will be beneficial to all customers moving forward, so once you build those good relationships, they’re mutually beneficial. There’s a sense of win-win for everybody.”
What makes this role so rewarding?
“The expectation is that the work you do as a specialist is really to make sure that the customer is part of the conversation, that you’re walking alongside the customer,” the Lead Support Coordination team says. “And you know, without doing that, what can often happen is the ‘tick and flick’ model where the Support Coordinator says, ‘I’ll do that for you’. That’s not what we do at OnSide.”
“For example, if you’re supporting a 20 year old, living with autism, to start taking on more responsibility in their NDIS plan, and they start writing really good emails back to you, and talking things through, you feel elated – you’re actually supporting a young person to have more choice and control.”
Our Specialist Support Coordinators are onboarded expecting they have at least three years experience working in the sector and a professional case work practice. No two days are the same, just as no two disabilities are the same. It’s a tough role but one that, for the right person, can yield a lifetime of positive impact.
OnSide can be there, at every stage of your NDIS journey
Get in touch with our team to discuss your options in a no-obligation free discovery call. We specialise in complex disability care and can support you to get the most out of your NDIS plan.