A Round Of Applause for Tilly Aston // Women + Disabilities

Celebrating Women + Disabilities – NDIS Plan Management l Canny Group

It is thanks to a woman that Australia introduced the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to law.  As Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard championed the Bill and its passage through parliament to become legislation.  The National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (Cth) was a game changer.

While Julia Gillard acted in her role as member of parliament, there have been many women championing the rights of people with disabilities in the years, decades and centuries before the NDIS.

GENDER + DISABILITY NO BARRIER

One in particular was Matilda (Tilly) Aston (1873 – 1947).  Tilly was a driving force for disability activism and the game changer of her time.  Long before the NDIS, Tilly, who was born with deteriorating vision and lost her sight at the age of seven, campaigned throughout her life for independence and social and economic participation., the provisions of reasonable and necessary supports, the pursuit of goals, the right to exercise choice and control, and raise community awareness.  All of which are cornerstones of the NDIS we see today.

Despite being born in the late 19th century, into a patriarchal and albeit society, where many many people, including children with a disability were segregated and institutionalised, she did not let her disability, her gender or the social thinking of her date deter her.

Often referred to as ‘Australia’s Helen Keller’, who was also a friend and contemporary, Tilly achieved “firsts” not only in Australia but in some cases the world.  She played a fundamental role in progressive and lasting changes for people who were blind or low vision.

CREATING CHANGE

With an eagerness to learn and her strong confidence, at the age of nine Tilly left her family and home in Carisbrook Victoria to become a full-time boarding student at the Asylum and School for the Blind (later renamed Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind) in Melbourne.  It was here that Tilly started to come into her own.  Intellectually bright, she completed her schooling and achieved her senior school certificate.  This led to her passing the Matriculation Examination at the University of Melbourne, the first Australian blind woman to do so.  Unfortunately, the lack of text books in braille resulted in Tilly not being able to keep up her studies.  After two years she withdrew as she was not able to keep up with her fellow sighted students.  Although Tilly felt she had not let herself down, but also her family, friends and supporters, the lack of braille books became the catalyst for her to establish the Victorian Association of Braille Writers and Library, founded in 1894, it continues to operate as the Vision Australia Library, a world leading accessible format library service for people with print disability.

Long before the slogan “nothing about us without us” became a motor of disability advocacy, Tilly firmly believed that “the only proper manager of affairs of people who were blind or had low vision, were those people themselves.”  With that, in 1895, she formed the Association of the Blind (AAB), an organisation that was governed and operated by and for people who were blind or low vision.  After name changes and merges, it still continues today in the form of Vision Australia.

WORLD-WIDE CHANGE

With the founding of the two major and influential Associations, Tilly continued to advocate for equitable services.  Through the AAB, Tilly led significant changes that would also influence similar changes around the world.

  • In 1899, The Victorian Railways agreed to freight braille books to readers at no charge, enabling wider distribution and access of the braille library’s collection.
  • In 1901, the discriminatory travel bond ended which had prevented people who were blind or low vision from leaving Victoria unless they paid a £400 bond.  An unfair, exorbitant and unrealistic amount at the time, if this bond was required in 2021, the average inflation of 3.7% over the past 120 years, the amount payable would be $62,844!  This is more than the average total funding in NDIS plans.
  • In 1902, following convincing lobbying, the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902 granted people who were blind the right to vote in federal elections.  The right was implicit in that it did not explicitly disqualify them as it did for persons of unsound mind, committed treason, convicted of a punishable offence and imprisoned for longer than one year or be an Aboriginal native of Australia, Asia, Africa, or the Pacific Islands, excluding New Zealand.  It was though the same Act, that women were also granted the right to stand for and vote in federal elections.  However, the right to vote in Victorian state elections was not afforded to people who were blind until 1909.
  • In 1902, free Mail for the Blind postage was introduced.  A world first and adopted internationally, it continues today and includes braille, large print and audio items and equipment.
  • In 1910, a pension became available to anyone over the age of 16 who was permanently blind and not already receiving an old age pension.
  • In 1913, following teacher training, Tilly was appointed as Head of the Victorian Education Department’s School for the Blind.  This was not without criticism and objection from staff and officials of RVIB due to her disability and connection to AAB.

During her lifetime, she was formally recognised for her achievements having been awarded the Awarded King’s Medal and Distinguished Citizenry in 1935 and 1937.  Posthumously the recognition is in the form of cars, monuments, inclusions in honor rolls, and the naming of a federal election.

TILLY ASTON, TODAY!

Tilly Aston was more than a game changer.  She is a role model, one who inspires and one to aspire to.  Her strength and tenacity deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated not only on International Women’s Day, but all year round.  If she were alive today, she would applaud the ethos of the NDIS, and the options it provides participants, including NDIS Plan Management, enabling choice and control.  She would applaud Canny Plan Management’s support and advocacy for not only its NDIS participants clients, but all the people with disabilities and their support networks.

Canny Plan Management - Registered NDIS Plan Management providers, Tilly Aston Circa 1890s

Image: Tilly Aston (circa 1890s)

Source: Vision Australia Heritage Collection: Victorian Collections

NDIS PLAN MANAGEMENT with Canny Plan Management!

Get in touch if you would like to know more about Canny Plan Management, and how we support NDIS participants with managing their funding through their plans – we are are the registered NDIS Plan Managers you need to have working with you.

 

Anthea Taylor // Canny Plan Management

Love Is In The Air

Love is in the air with Canny Plan Management!

What’s love got to do with it? 

We’ve all seen the supermarkets shelves fill up with stuffed toys, coffee mugs with cheesy sayings, chocolates and valentine cards and we’re all seeing and hearing the ‘for your Valentine’ advertisements. For me, February 14th goes by without a fuss, regardless of relationship status, but this year has me thinking, what does love mean to me? Love is that shared bond or deep connection you have with a friend, family member, or partner and you know you’re there for each other no matter what happens or how far away you are. It’s the feeling of butterflies in the pit of your stomach and nervousness, the jittery feeling you get when you see someone you love. It is the intense feeling of deep affection for them when they are not with you. It is that overwhelming feeling to protect that special someone.

Love is that commitment and deep connection to someone or something, it is a bond that two people share or a great interest and pleasure in something.

COVID was a chance for me to reset and reevaluate what I love in my life and what my core values are, 2021 is a chance for me to refocus and stick to my values and spend time with people I love and doing the things I love doing most.

I love my family, I love my friends, I love my dogs, I love the beach, I love what I do. I appreciate each of these every day; they bring me immense joy, are there for support during the trying times and to celebrate the good times.

Love What You Do…

February 2021 marks 10 years since I packed up my house, said goodbye to my friends and family, jumped on a plane and moved to Argentina to start a new job, which unbeknownst to me, would lead to a 10 year (and counting) career as an ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) Therapist. My world opened up that year. Despite studying Primary Education Studies for almost four years I’d only had one lecture on disability and inclusion in the classroom. I didn’t even know what Autism was, but I jumped at the opportunity to home school a 14-year-old non-verbal ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) boy in Argentina. I had no idea how to cater for disability or deal with behaviours of concern. I also had no idea how to speak Spanish!

I accepted the job offer anyway and was sent to Melbourne to be trained up as an ABA therapist. Three weeks later I was on a plane on my way to a new life, in a new employment field, in a new country, in a new language!

This 14 year boy couldn’t dress himself, he couldn’t socialise, he couldn’t cross the street or leave his house safely. He couldn’t ride a bike. He was pre-pubescent and had a lot of sexualised behaviour. I worked hard to teach him skills to become more independent within the community he lived and within the family home. I taught him to dress himself, I taught him how to order his favourite drink and a chocolate muffin at his favourite café, which was half-way between his house and a train station. He could sit in the window sipping his coke and spilling his muffin crumbs down his shirt completely mesmerized by the trains coming and going across the road. He loved trains, I loved watching him learn new skills and have some impendence.

I taught him about puberty and appropriate behaviours in private vs public spaces. I taught him how to ride a bike, I taught him to make his own breakfast. I taught him life skills and he taught me that you can communicate in other ways than words.

This opportunity opened up a world of possibilities for me and when I moved back to Australia, I had a new passion and a drive to not only support people with a disability but to educate the wider community. For the last 10 years I have been achieving this through the many different roles I have had in disability, but ABA will always be my side hustle that fuels my love and passion for the different employment avenues I explore.

I love being able to promote and upskill the community to better understand the neurodiversity in this world whilst supporting individuals with disabilities to increase their opportunities, expand on their quality of life and help them to achieve their goals by providing them with information on funding and or supports that are available.

We love you…

And for us, love is in the air with Canny Plan Management!

Canny Group have shown we care for our clients and are passionate about what we do, expanding our services in to areas we are passionate and knowledgeable about. Our newest arm of operation, Canny Plan Management (or CPM) is no different.

Canny Plan Management is here to support you with navigating your NDIS needs and to celebrate your everyday successes.

As an NDIS participant you want to be able to enjoy life and have the same opportunities available to you regardless of your disability, after all, “There is no greater disability in society, than the inability to see a person as more.” – Robert M. Hensel

As a plan nominee, partner, friend, or family member of a participant you want your loved ones to be able to enjoy life and you want to be able to spend time doing things together rather than for them. NDIS is designed for this. Rather than spending time paying invoices, or worrying about money to pay for extra supports your child requires, you want to be running around at the park with them or sitting back, hearts full and eyes brimming as you observe growing successes and triumphs.

Your NDIS plan should be developed around your goals and your needs whilst also providing you choice and control over the providers you access with funds available to access these supports across the lifespan of the plan.

We will help you get the most from your NDIS plan whilst providing non-biased information on the options available to you and your loved ones.  We love all things NDIS so that you don’t have to! Let us deal with the time consuming, administrative work so you can get out there and love life.

So let us put the love back in the air for you with Canny Plan Management, helping you with your NDIS funding, get in touch today and we can help you celebrate your everyday success!

A New Year, A New Service!

Canny Plan Management l Making Changes to Plan Management

2021 // A New Year, A New Service!  It’s a New year.  It’s time for a change.

 According to the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus “there is nothing permanent except change”. Each year, as we welcome change in the form of the new year.  With that, we think about our goals for the forthcoming year.  Bigger, brighter goals than previous years. The things we want to change, the things we will change. Essentially goals are about change

Did Heraclitus foresee the National Disability Insurance Scheme? Although a philosopher, his quote could be considered a prophecy.  It certainly resonates with the NDIS’s constant state of change. NDIS Participants are experts in both goals and change.  They are adept at setting realistic and tangible goals in the everchanging landscape that is the NDIS.  As a new service, Canny Plan Management’s goals for 2021 centre around change: To collaborate with our plan management clients to assist them to manage their funding within the organic and dynamic parameters of the NDIS, and be the positive change for our plan management clients to help them achieve their goals.

OUR CHANGE IS THAT WE ARE PERSON-CENTRED!

“Real People, real walks of life” is not just a tag line.  It is our motto. We live by it.  We work by it. We focus on the real person, the individual, their life, their goals, their aspirations, their today and their tomorrow. Our clients are the fabric of our values.  We chat and collaborate with our plan management clients to focus on their needs and goals.  Our regular check-in with clients keeps us in touch and focussed on their goals. Our goal is that Canny Plan Management clients always know and feel that they are the centre of everything we do.

OUR CHANGE IS THAT WE ARE DIFFERENT!

We are not just a tick the box accounts payable service.  Through our person-centred approach we work in collaboration with our plan management clients to help manage and maximise their current + future NDIS funding to support their needs, achieve their goals and live the life they want to live.  We monitor and advise on their funding expenditures and balances. Our goal is that our Canny Plan Management clients access all their allocated NDIS funding to purchase the products and services they need.

OUR CHANGE IS THAT MANAGING MONEY IS WHAT WE DO!

And we’re good at it!  The Canny Group have been trusted in helping people manage their money for over 60 years.  It just makes sense that we extend what we do and offer our expertise + experience to NDIS participants.  As financial intermediary specialists, we use our budgeting skills to deep dive into our plan management client’s NDIS plan and work with the client to develop a tailored budget that fits in with their funding and their needs + goals. We highlight areas of flexibility and adjust as the plan goes along. We take the responsibility of being independent plan managers very seriously and are always conscious of the fact that we are acting as a financial intermediary for our plan management clients, and that we are managing their funding on their behalf. We provide regular reports on expenditure and balances to make sure we are doing what our clients want us to do.  Our goal is to ensure accountability and transparency in everything we do.

We’re one of the good guys. We stand on our own. We offer an impartial service without any organisational conflict of interest that goes with providing other NDIS services. We’re not influenced or co-dependent on other disability services.  We are plan managers, and that is it. Our goal is to ensure an independent financial intermediary service for our Canny Plan Management clients and that they have choice and control for purchasing the best value support services and products.

OUR CHANGE IS THAT WE UNDERSTAND BUSINESS!

Big or small, cashflow or provider, it doesn’t matter. As a business ourselves, we get the need for payment for services rendered – and payment sooner rather than later makes everyone happy, especially the accountants.  We don’t want any disruption to the support services delivered to our plan management clients, so we ensure providers are paid efficiently and quickly. Our goal is that all plan managed invoices and reimbursements are processed and paid promptly.

OUR CHANGE IS THAT WE GIVE BACK TIME!

We all dream of a stress-free life and having time to do the things we enjoy and want to do.  Canny Plan Management helps to realise the dream.  By taking care of the invoices and reimbursements, we do the work.  Canny Plan Management clients do not have to spend time or stress over trying to or having to navigate and wrangle the NDIS portal. There are so many better things to do with their time. Our goal is to give time back to our clients so they can actively focus on their goals and what is important to them.

OUR CHANGE IS THAT WE MEAN IT!

We didn’t go into this lightly.  We did our research.  We saw the need for focused and experienced plan managers who put the needs of NDIS participants first. We saw the need for loud and active advocacy in the plan management space. Backed by our long standing experience, trust in the community and commitment to our clients, the real people from real walks of life, we have gone into this with a positive disruptive attitude to be the change that plan management needs and to make a difference for NDIS participants. We have done it because is important.

As the world tentatively crosses into 2021, we are leaping in to it and eagerly embracing our goals.  We see it as an exciting year.  A year that will make a positive difference.  A year that will herald Canny Plan Management as being the change that was wanted.  Being the change that was needed.

Canny Plan Management l Making changes to Plan Management so get in touch with us if you or someone you know need a change in 2021.

Help To Manage Your NDIS Plan

When it comes to the NDIS and getting started it can be a little overwhelming to say the least.  When it comes to managing those funds in your NDIS plan, there is no ‘right’ way.  But you will need to think about the options available to you.  As well as how they fit with your lifestyle and situation to help you reach and achieve your goals.  Canny Plan Management will be with you every step of the way to help to manage your NDIS plan.

Every NDIS plan has a budget with funding to purchase supports to help you achieve your goals.  Whether it’s your first NDIS plan or you’ve been doing it for a while – the NDIS is always changing.

There are three options to manage your NDIS funding

  1. Self-Managed
  2. Plan-Managed
  3. NDIS-Managed

You can also choose a combination of the three options.  For example, you may choose to self-manage one part of your plan to start with and have the rest managed by a Plan Manager like Canny Plan Management.

PLAN-MANAGED FUNDING

Working together with a professional Plan Management registered NDIS Provider, like Canny Plan Management, gives you the increased choice and control of your plan without the hassle of managing the financial paperwork.

There are some great benefits from us a Plan Manger, for example:

  • Allowing you to choose supports from registered and non-registered providers such as a gardener, cleaner or organisations and therapists who have chosen not to register
  • Not having to use the NDIS Portal (Proda/MyPlace Portal) or talk to the NDIS call centre – which can be confusing and often time consuming for some people
  • Knowing that you have a trusting team of people to turn to when needing help to navigate the NDIS and to ensure you get the most out of your plan
  • You don’t have to pay for plan management from your core budgets. Plan Management is funded separately in your plan and it is not subject to the reasonable and necessary test

Canny Plan Management strive to take Plan Management to the next level.  Ensuring that it is always participant focused, we can offer trustworthy, honest, and open communication at all times.  We have been helping people reach and achieve their financial goals for 60 years and plan on helping each participant also reach theirs.

SELF-MANAGEMENT

Self-management is when you manage your NDIS funding:

  • Flexibility and choice to decide what supports you buy to meet your plan goals
  • The NDIA provides you with funding so you can access the supports that will best help you achieve your goals

NDIA-MANAGED FUNDING

The NDIA pays your providers on your behalf and it’s sometimes referred to as Agency-managed:

  • You will only be able to choose from NDIS registered providers who will claim their payments directly from your funding
  • You cannot pay more than the NDIA set price limits when being NDIA-Managed

HOW CANNY PLAN MANAGEMENT CAN HELP YOU

No matter how you decide if you would like help to manage your NDIS Plan and how they are managed – you still have choice and control.  This is to ensure that the services are working for you and fit in to your budget.  Even if your funding is managed by the NDIS or a Plan Manager, it is recommended that you should regularly check the myplace portal and your funding to make sure your budgets are on track.

However, Canny Plan Management give access to a separate dashboard specially designed for each individual participant, their plan, their goals.  This separate portal dashboard allows you to see where your plan is sitting in real time!  It gives access to the participants, plan nominees, support co-ordinators to see the money that has been allocated to each budget, where the money is sitting, approve invoices, send direct messages,  and the invoices that are linked to your plan.

Get in touch with our team to see how we can help you!