National Disability Insurance Scheme News

The EFA Enquirer: 1 April 2021

Helping providers to help participants

In this edition:

  • Introducing Linda Blaik, EFA Associate.
  • NDIS Fact Sheet: Dysphagia, Safe Swallowing and Mealtime Management Provider Alert
  • NDIS Code of Conduct

Who is Linda Blaik?
Besides a valuable member of our team!

Not a woman to turn away from adversity, to disappear quietly into the background, or to turn her back on someone in need – this is Linda. When one first meets Linda Blaik they may get a sense of her wicked and genuine sense of humour and her gusto for life.

Linda Blaik considers herself a diamond in the rough, but given her exposure on national and international disability platforms, we think her natural state is very polished indeed. Linda is an experienced and credentialed facilitator, having convened a range of Disability Awareness sessions for Deakin University, TAFE’s too many to mention and a range of corporate clients such as Mercure and Quest Apartment chains. Linda has regular speaking engagements nationally and internationally including at the International Initiative for Disability Leadership (IIDL) conference in 2019 in Boston, USA. 

Linda was also the first person with lived experience of disability to be selected as a member of the Committee for Geelong, on the Strategy and Policy Sub-committee and has been engaged in a number of research projects in recent years. Her far-reaching experience across the Geelong community spectrum for over 25 years, and her interaction and networking with a diversity of people over that time has certainly facilitated a strong sense of leadership and stakeholder relationship management in Linda. 

Linda is a sitting member of Guide Dogs Victoria, Client Engagement Council, and has been Coordinator of the Guide Dogs Victoria Dogs Unite Walk. She is a Member of the Accessible Cities Task Force and DHHS Steering Committee and was a Finalist in Women in Community Life Award in 2017 and 2018, and in 2015 was a Local Heroes nominee in Australian of the Year Award.

Even though we love raving about her talents, Linda’s resume is too extensive for it all to fit here! She lives in Geelong with her husband David and Guide Dog Daicos and we are very excited to have her join our team. In fact, we sought her out as we knew Linda would add a new jewel to the crown of Engels Floyd & Associates. 

I caught up with Linda today to delve a little deeper into the woman behind the image.

What do you love about your work?

Linda: It’s variety! It varies from job to job. Giving answers to questions that people want to know.

What are the highlights of your life to date?

Linda: 1. Getting married to David, 2. Raising three admirable children, 3. Having three lovely grandchildren, and 4. Feeling privileged to visit the USA twice with my good friend and colleague Jennifer Engels to hear and meet with Donny Osmond. (Some of you may remember those songs Donny used to break hearts with!)

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Linda: Loyal. Determined. Easy going. (Technically that’s four words but who’s counting!)

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Linda: ’What will be will be.” (I’m sure Doris Day would agree with that!) Take it as it comes!

What is the most courageous thing you have done?

Linda: Boarded an aeroplane and flown to America. Walked the streets on New York at night as a totally blind woman. 

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Linda: Being headhunted by EFA. (That’s us!!)

What could you not live without?

Linda: My guide dog.

If you could sit over dinner with anyone who would it be and why?

Linda: Peter Daicos, ex Collingwood AFL player, just for a social chat. Christine Couzens to ask her about where she came from and how she got to where she is now. Julia Gillard to explore her thoughts on the NDIS today. 

What song do you HAVE to sing along with when you hear it?

Linda: Scooby Dooby Doo. (Classic!!!) 

So what is Linda’s role with Engels Floyd & Associates

As providers are aware, there are a number of requirements under the NDIS Practice Standards that require providers to seek feedback from participants. 

The EFA best practice approach to helping providers with this is to offer an expert, independent individual to engage directly with your participants, families and chosen supporters (in a way that will work best for them) to collect this feedback and provide you with a report. 

Why is our approach best practice you ask? Because our expert has lived experience of disability, is an NDIS participant herself and has decades of experience in group facilitation, particularly for people with disability. This approach is unique to EFA. Linda fits that role perfectly and offers so much more skill and versatility. 

Linda will also offer a component of EFA’s unique Disability Awareness training which is available to disability support providers. As Linda states: “I have lived it so you can learn it.” Reviewing the accessibility of websites, apps and printed materials is Linda’s other important role. 

Life feels somewhat more carefree and less serious when Linda is around. And the benefits of that cannot be underestimated!

The EFA Enquirer: 1 April 2021 1

Dysphagia, Safe Swallowing and Mealtime Management Provider Alert

A new practice alert provides guidance on supporting people with disability who have difficulty with swallowing. Dysphagia refers to difficulty with swallowing and is associated with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions. People with disability who have dysphagia are more likely to die from choking or respiratory illnesses or have serious health complications because of poor management of dysphagia. In fact, this was one area that was highlighted in the research findings by Dr Carmela Salomon and Professor Julian Trollor on behalf of NDIS. I’m sure you would agree that we would all like to reduce or eliminate the overall incidence of these unnecessary deaths.   

Get the Fact Sheet here which explains the risks associated with dysphagia, how to support NDIS participants with dysphagia, and your obligations as an NDIS provider.

Updated NDIS Code of Conduct

It could be timely to update yourself on the NDIS Code of Conduct. A code is valuable both as an internal guideline and an external statement of corporate values and commitments and is an important part of providing support, transparency, and demonstrating your ongoing commitment to everyone receiving NDIS. At an organisational level it can underpin a central guide and reference for employees to support day-to-day decision making.

If you have feedback on our newsletter, would like to see information on a particular topic in an upcoming newsletter, or want to find out more about the seriously good work we do to support you – Please contact us here.

While all care has been taken in the preparation of this material, no responsibility is accepted by Engels Floyd & Associates for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies. The material provided in this resource has been prepared to provide general information only. It is not intended to be relied upon or be a substitute for legal or other appropriate professional advice. Engels Floyd & Associates accept no responsibility for any known or unknown consequences that may result from reliance on any information provided in this newsletter, or any external websites referred to.

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