May the 15th 2013 Oh what a glorious day that was.

Do you remember this little speech by then Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard?

We’ve had a lot of prime ministers since she was ousted from her job.

Anyway, let me take you back so you can bask in the glory that was the first stages of the rollout of the NDIS.

Ahh the early days, the tears, the commitment.

So, if your reading this wondering what the hell is the NDIS scheme then let me explain.


The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was initiated by the Australian Government for Australians with a disability, including people with intellectual, physical, sensory and psycho-social disabilities. 

Its purpose was to create a managed market for disability services within Australia.

Cut to four weeks ago.

I had originally put in what they term an NDIS access request form.

But what is an ‘Access Request Form?’


If you are a person with a disability and would like to join the NDIS, you will need to meet its Access Requirements.

If you think you meet these requirements you can make an Access Request two ways.

You can make a Verbal Access Request (VAR) or

Fill out a paper Access Request Form (ARF).

You will need to provide age and residency evidence. The easiest way to do it is to give the NDIA consent to use your Centrelink record, if you are a Centrelink customer.

You may also need to provide evidence about your disability and how it impacts your everyday life. The easiest way to do it is to ask your treating health professional to complete the ARF – Part F or an NDIA Supporting Evidence form. It helps if you can also supply copies of any existing reports or assessments.

No matter how you make an Access Request you will need to provide the NDIA with the same information and evidence to support your application.

Access Request Form

You can get an Access Request form from your Local Area Coordinator, Early Childhood Early Intervention partner (if your child is under 7), your local NDIA office or you can call 1800 800 110.

You can also find an office near you

The reason for me travelling to Mount Hawthorn was that the evidence that I had initially provided wasn’t sufficient enough and it hadn’t addressed the DSM-5 criteria.

Perth Psychological Services
Perth Psychological Services

If you’re wondering what the DSM5 criteria is then read on.


What are, the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for Autism?

The DSM-5 is now the standard reference that healthcare providers use to diagnose mental and behavioural conditions, including Autism.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Diagnostic Criteria

  1. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive, see text):
  2. Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, ranging, for example, from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; to reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; to failure to initiate or respond to social interactions.
  3. Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviours used for social interaction, ranging, for example, from poorly integrated verbal and nonverbal communication; to abnormalities in eye contact and body language or deficits in understanding and use of gestures; to a total lack of facial expressions and nonverbal communication.
  4. Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships, ranging, for example, from difficulties adjusting behaviour to suit various social contexts; to difficulties in sharing imaginative play or in making friends; to absence of interest in peers.

Specify current severity: Severity is based on social communication impairments and restricted repetitive patterns of behaviour. (See table below.)

  1. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive; see text):
  2. Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypies, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases).
  3. Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns or verbal nonverbal behaviour (e.g., extreme distress at small changes, difficulties with transitions, rigid thinking patterns, greeting rituals, need to take same route or eat food every day).
  4. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g., strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interest).
  5. Hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensory input or unusual interests in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g., apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement).
Table: Severity levels for Autism Spectrum Disorder
Severity level Social communication Restricted, repetitive behaviours
Level 3
“Requiring very substantial support”
Level 2
“Requiring substantial support”
Level 1
“Requiring support”
Severe deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills cause severe impairments in functioning, very limited initiation of social interactions, and minimal response to social overtures from others. For example, a person with few words of intelligible speech who rarely initiates interaction and, when he or she does, makes unusual approaches to meet needs only and responds to only very direct social approaches

Inflexibility of behaviour, extreme difficulty coping with change, or other restricted/repetitive behaviours markedly interfere with functioning in all spheres. Great distress/difficulty changing focus or action.

Marked deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills; social impairments apparent even with supports in place; limited initiation of social interactions; and reduced or abnormal responses to social overtures from others. For example, a person who speaks simple sentences, whose interaction is limited to narrow special interests, and who has markedly odd nonverbal communication.

Inflexibility of behaviour, difficulty coping with change, or other restricted/repetitive behaviours appear frequently enough to be obvious to the casual observer and interfere with functioning in a variety of contexts. Distress and/or difficulty changing focus or action.

Without supports in place, deficits in social communication cause noticeable impairments. Difficulty initiating social interactions, and clear examples of atypical or unsuccessful response to social overtures of others. May appear to have decreased interest in social interactions. For example, a person who is able to speak in full sentences and engages in communication but whose to- and-fro conversation with others fails, and whose attempts to make friends are odd and typically unsuccessful.

Inflexibility of behaviour causes significant interference with functioning in one or more contexts. Difficulty switching between activities. Problems of organization and planning hamper independence

Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder

Diagnostic Criteria

  1. Persistent difficulties in the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication as manifested by all of the following:
  2.  Deficits in using communication for social purposes, such as greeting and sharing information, in a manner that is appropriate for the social context.
  3. Impairment of the ability to change communication to match context or the needs of the listener, such as speaking differently in a classroom than on the playground, talking differently to a child than to an adult, and avoiding use of overly formal language.
  4. Difficulties following rules for conversation and storytelling, such as taking turns in conversation, rephrasing when misunderstood, and knowing how to use verbal and nonverbal signals to regulate interaction.
  5. Difficulties understanding what is not explicitly stated (e.g., making inferences) and nonliteral or ambiguous meanings of language (e.g., idioms, humour, metaphors, multiple meanings that depend on the context for interpretation).
  6. The deficits result in functional limitations in effective communication, social participation, social relationships, academic achievement, or occupational performance, individually or in combination.
  7. The onset of the symptoms is in the early developmental period (but deficits may not become fully manifest until social communication demands exceed limited capacities).
  8. The symptoms are not attributable to another medical or neurological condition or to low abilities in the domains or word structure and grammar, and are not better explained by autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder), global developmental delay, or another mental disorder.

So, about a month later I finally got a report back from the psychological centre and having addressed all of the above criteria I was now able to proceed with putting in my application to apply for some NDIS funding.

I’ll let you all know the outcome when I do.

Now all I can do is wait.

Carry on the Conversation

Carry on the conversation

As always, I can also be found on Twitter: @AutisticNick9 and at my email

If you like what you have seen on the site today, then show your support by liking the Autistic Nick Facebook page.

Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.


  1. Hope you get the supports that you need Nick. The NDIS isn’t perfect. Sometimes it can be very frustrating, but it’s a much needed improvement on the way things used to be for people with disabilities.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Nick, interesting blog. Can I ask if you qualified for any one of those three severity levels what kind of support would you be seeking, or what support would you benefit from most.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Onevoice47xxy, I would say that I am on level 2. I am still waiting to hear back from the NDIS to see if my application has been accepted. In the interim I am consulting with a disability support worker and we are working out what I would benefit from. Thanks Nick

      Liked by 1 person

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