13. Sep, 2015

NDIS - 5 lessons for transition from contact lenses


I love my contact lenses - not just because they provide me with clearer vision and enhance my choice and control over what I do, but because if your are open to the learning, they can teach you heaps of lessons that you can apply to life - including transitioning to the NDIS.


Lesson 1. Change isn't easy

When you start wearing contact lenses, they are mongrels of things to get used to. First up, you have to condition yourself to be able to do what is tantamount to poking yourself in the eye at least twice in each eye, each day. This is a seemingly unnatural act and somewhat counter-intuitive to what you generally accept as 'good for you'.

Then you have to develop the skill to get a tiny piece of plastic to let go of the skin on your finger and adhere to your eyeball. This takes experimentation, patience and practice. Believe me, their are times when you think you just won't be able to do it and you will want to give up.

The initial happiness of getting your lenses in becomes overshadowed during the day as your eyes, while still adjusting to the lenses become tired and irritable and want you to go back to the old ways. But if you stick with it, after a few weeks you don't even know your wearing them.

Transitioning to the NDIS is somewhat the same:

  • sometimes you need to do what might seem counter-intuitive based on your previous experiences
  • you have to experiment and adjust your approaches as you learn more and more from doing
  • you need to see the process through, even when you want to stop


Lesson 2. The old ways are not the best

When I wore glasses, I hated going out in the rain. I hated going to the beach. I hated exercising. Driving at night was always a sub-optimal experience due to reflections - and on the odd occasion, my depth perception was a bit wonky.

In other words, while glasses work, they have their limitations. Contact lenses on the other hand provide a far more individual response that allows for far more choice, control, freedom and flexibility.

Now I love doing all those things that used to really bug me.

You may think your block grant gives the people who use your service choice and control, but it really doesn't. I recall a story from the Hunter NDIS Trial Site where a chap with quadriplegia would get assistance from his service provider to go to bed. BUT because of the restrictions of the block grant the latest they could do this was 7pm - giving him roughly 4 hours of staring at the ceiling before he dropped off to sleep (he couldn't move his head sideways). Now his Individual Support Plan (ISP) caters for staff that can come at 10pm. This would never have been possible in this specific instance under block grant.

So just like glasses, block grants do give a basic solution to a need, but a more individualised response can lead to far greater choice, control, freedom and flexibility and that is what people with disability want.


Lesson 3. Irritation doesn't go away by itself - and if left alone, it only gets worse

Anyone who has worn contact lenses knows that sometimes the moment you put them on, you can feel an irritation on your eye - AND it will never go away by itself! It is folly to believe that doing nothing will solve the situation. You have to address it immediately by taking the lens out, examining the cause and dealing with it, or it will just get worse and worse as the day goes on.

If you have staff or systems that are impeding your capacity to transition to the NDIS, you need to deal with them/it now! Don't wait, hoping it will get better. It won't. Take the time to address the situation, examine the cause and deal with it. Most times with contact lenses this means you can still go on using the same lens, but sometimes you have to throw the old one out and get a new one. Same goes for staff and systems. And the quicker you do it, the quicker you can get on with the things that matter in your transition plan.


Lesson 4. Panic and knee-jerk reactions rarely solve anything

Dropping a contact lens (particularly when you are getting ready to go out) usually sets off a mild to moderate panic attack. Contact lenses are relatively small things and they are deliberately designed to be transparent - and not to put too fine a point on it, the user has a degree of vision impairment.... you're getting the point right? Finding the little sucker is going to be a challenge and as time is running out till you have to leave home, the pressure is on!

The knee-jerk panic reaction of trying to look everywhere at once rarely works. And a tip for nothing - looking in the same place where you already know it isn't over and over again, won't make it magically appear... It takes a logical approach of slow and deliberate scanning to locate a lost lens.

The same applies for finding your way under the NDIS. As you hear of happenings in launch sites, or when you get that notification that the NDIS is coming to your postcode, and as time is running out, panicking and knee-jerk reactions won't help. You need to take a slow and deliberate scan of the environment and your organisation. You need to identify what needs to change and put in a logical planned process to make change happen.

And most of all you need to follow through on implementation - just like looking in the same places won't make a contact lenses magically appear, nor will doing things the same old way lead to the changes you need to make.

Remember - nothing changes, if nothing changes


Lesson 5. It's all about giving the customer what they want

Optometrists can make much more money out of selling glasses than they do on the sale of a set of contact lenses, but they understand that they need to provide what the customer wants. I can't think of a single optometrist that hasn't modified their business to supply contact lenses since they were invented.

So before you say you don't do that, THINK!

To finish on, I know I'm mixing my metaphors, but don't become the 'Kodak' of the disability sector.

I can assist you and your organisation with the change process of transitioning to the NDIS - or you can read my other posts below for free.

P: 0412 020 478  E: scott@peregrinus.com.au W: www.peregrinus.com.au


Peregrinus Consulting - supporting those who provide paid support for people with disability