NDIS capacity building funds are not being used effectively

The NDIS has a category of funding called “Capacity Building”. It’s designed for “development and training to increase your skills so you can participate in community, social and recreational activities.”

Now interestingly enough, only 59% of those capacity building funds are actually being utilized. So a hundred percent of the funds have been allocated, but only about half of them are being utilized. Does that surprise you that we’ve got the funds but we are not using it?

People with intellectual disability most certainly can learn

Why might this be? Is it because people with disability cannot learn? The research tells us this isn’t true. It tells us when supports use the right training techniques they certainly can learn and there are hundreds if not thousands of techniques.

One of the problems is that staff often see their job as providing activities but not necessarily skill building. We see this time at time and time again. The staff member will take somebody out for a cup of coffee because that’s fun and enjoyable and maybe the person with a disability wants to do that and there’s nothing wrong with that per se. But in that moment there is a whole lot of skill building that can go on.

When going out for a coffee support staff could be travel training, teaching the person how to get to the coffee shop and how to get back home so that they can become more independent. Supports can teach them about money handling, how to order or conversational skills while they’re having a coffee. There’s lots and lots of opportunities for training there, but staff are actually only seeing their job as entertainment.

We of course need to remember that not all people with disability are the same and may not need or want to learn skills when they go out for a coffee. This has to be a goal the person themselves and their loved ones who know them well see as important to and for them.

Support Workers often don’t have the right skills

The second issue is that even if we say to support workers we would like our loved one to learn how to catch the bus to the coffee shop, the staff member actually doesn’t have the capacity. They don’t have the knowledge of how to do that. It’s a major issue.

Some of Dr June Alexander’s research has been interviewing staff and asking them about training strategies and do they know them and do they know how to implement them? What she found was the majority of them actually have very little idea about these training strategies. They might’ve heard them, but they don’t know how to implement them and were not using them.

This even applies to staff that are qualified. They might have a certificate from TAFE or they might even have degrees and they still don’t know how to implement these strategies.

Systematic Instruction is an effective strategy

Systematic instruction is one strategy that is really useful for building capacity around independent living skills – using the dishwasher, hanging out the washing, mowing the lawn and more. It involves breaking a skill down into individual components and using a variety of different types of prompts so that students can learn it more easily. It’s also a very low stress and respectful way to teach someone skills.

You can watch the video below to see all the different types of prompts in action.


Want to learn more about how to use systematic instruction?

We have an online course that comes with 4 hours of mentoring from Dr June Alexander herself who you saw in the video above. The course will allow you to:

• Identify potential learning activities that suit systematic instruction
• Break tasks them down into small steps and create a task analysis document so all supports can help the person do the task in the same way
• Using errorless learning to ensure the person has a positive experience with increasing challenge
• Use prompts appropriately
• Collect data to understand how the person is progressing

Course structure:

Module 1 – Introduction to Systematic Instruction

• What is systematic instruction
• Examples of systematic instruction in action
• Preparing to implement systematic instruction

Module 2 – Systematic Instruction Techniques

• Writing a task analysis
• Prompting
• Allowing initiation
• Limiting verbal instruction
• Errorless learning

Module 3 – Implementing Systematic Instruction

• Bringing it all together
• Implementing systematic instruction with the person you support

Mentoring + training courses = real change

Courses alone don’t often lead to change, however when mentoring and coaching is included in the learning experience your chances of successfully implementing systematic instruction greatly improve. That’s why we include 4 hours of mentoring with Dr June Alexander to support you to be successful.

Find out more by booking a discovery call below