Graeme Dargie’s first experience with the NDIS was as the parent of a son with disability. Intrigued by the focus on choice and control for participants, he made enquiries about how he could get involved.
“I have worked as a psychologist and many other roles in the disability field for more than 25 years and this new model really demonstrated a strong empowerment approach,” said the Planning and Support Coordinator from the Perth Hills NDIS Trial Site.
“I have a disability myself and found that my lived experience was valued by the Agency.”
Graeme spent six months as Chairperson of the NDIA’s Staff Participant Network (SPN), a forum open to staff who are NDIS participants, or are a parent, family member or carer of a participant. The network provides valuable advice to influence our operations.
“I really enjoyed my time as Chairperson of the SPN,” Graeme said. “I felt this was a good chance to bring issues forward for discussion and comment on the direction of our Agency.”
He said changes to our operations and the Scheme were directly felt by staff like himself working directly with participants.
“I think as a Planner, the greatest thing I have had to deal with is a huge, constant change environment,” Graeme said.
“It has been important to appreciate we started in a trial environment where we were learning the best way of doing things. It takes a certain resilience to accept and adopt some of the changes, and it takes good leadership to keep the team focussed on the achievements of the Scheme.
“I think the biggest inspiration that I have experienced as a father of a participant, a participant myself and a planner is the stories and achievements participants have experienced coming into the Scheme.”