Have you heard about SDA?

Have you heard about SDA?

Have you heard about this amazing thing called SDA?

In the expanding world of NDIS, more people are being diagnosed with disabilities which impacts on their ability to remain in their home. This may be due to the excessive cost of home modifications, or home modifications are simply unsuitable. Previously, there were limited options for relocation. However, there is an increasing amount, of properties known as Specialist Disability Accommodation or SDA properties emerging.

So now you might be thinking, what exactly is SDA?

As per NDIS, SDA is explained to be a range of housing designed for people with an extreme functional impairment or very high support needs. [1] SDA properties are designed to promote accessibility within the home to help residents live a more independent, safe lifestyle and allow formal or informal supports to provide safer supports. [1]

To break it down further, SDA is the bricks and mortar. It’s a place to live that provides accessibility for those who experiences significant impairment or high levels of person-to-person support. Additionally, SDA isn’t limited to a being a purpose-built house, there are SDA villas, apartments, houses, and townhouses which means that you are not limited to living in the outskirts of your town, you can live in the centre of city, or even a beach side apartment building! One of the greatest things about SDA properties is that externally, they don’t look like ‘disability housing’ and internally look amazing and modernised!

Beachside apartment!? When can I move in?

As per everything within the NDIS, there is an eligibility criteria that needs to be met before you can apply for SDA. This ensures that the SDA properties available are able to be accessed by those who desperately need them. As mentioned before, there are two beginning criteria that you must meet one of to start the eligibility process. These are:

Extreme Functional Impairment:

Extreme functional impairment translates to experiences significant difficulty completing, or unable to complete daily tasks on your own despite the implementation of assistive technology or home modifications. [2]
The daily tasks are split into three categories:
• Mobility
• Self-care
• Self-management


Very High Support Needs:

Very high support needs are defined by the NDIS to require a significant amount of person-to-person support for a significant part of the day. The support is required to be with or, be called upon straight away.[2]
Reasons why you might require very high support needs can include:
• Your informal support system is unable to provide or maintain the level of support required. [2]
• SDA will assist with mitigating safety risks to yourself or to others. Examples provided by the NDIS include, needing to leave the property urgently in an emergency, or behaviours of concern create a safety risk to you or to others around you. [2]

There are participants who will meet both criteria, if this is the case, your occupational therapist will be able to identify which is the most appropriate criteria to apply for SDA.

I think I'm eligible, when can I move into the beachside apartment?
It’s great that you might be eligible, however the first step is to engage an Occupational Therapist to complete an assessment. This will help determine the eligibility for SDA and which category of SDA may best suit you.

There are four types of SDA properties which I’ll elaborate on below.

Improved Liveability
Improved liveability is housing designed for better physical access. It has features that assist people with sensory, intellectual, or cognitive impairments. For example, you may require walls and floors with contrast to assist your impaired vision. [3]

Fully Accessible
Fully accessible is housing with a very high level of physically accessible features. This is housing designed for those who experience significant physical challenges, or impairments. Examples of this can include being a full-time wheelchair use and being unable to complete steps.  These properties generally are built with widened hallways, doorways, and open-plan bathrooms. [3]

High Physical Support
High physical support is accommodation that allows for a high level of physical access for participants and their support (informal or formal). This category is suitable for those who may require AT such as a ceiling hoist, require a backup power supply, home automation and communications technology. [3]

Robust housing is strong and durable housing designed to reduce the need for repairs and maintenance. The design and build of robust properties are to ensure safety for participants, supports and minimises the risk of property damage. This category is designed for those who have trouble regulation their emotions and engaged in behaviours of concern. [3]

Okay, I feel confident about SDA, what should I do to explore SDA as a living option?
1) Speak with your informal and formal supports about wanting to explore SDA.
2) Speak with your support coordinator to access an occupational therapist such as Forbes Care.
3) Assist your occupational therapist to gain as much information as possible for the report to submit to NDIS
4) During this period, have your support coordinator or occupational therapist reach out to SDA properties and see if you can view any vacant properties to see the cool features of an SDA property.
5) Await your decision from NDIS
6) Once approved, your support coordinator will engage different SDA providers in your chosen area for you to move into.
7) Move in and begin living a more independent and safer life!

Hopefully this has increased your understanding and education on Specialist Disability Accommodation. It is understandable for there still be lots of questions that you want answered regarding SDA. If this is the case, reach out to us here at Forbes Care and see how we can assist you with your remaining questions. Otherwise, please reach out to your support coordinator, occupational therapist, or NDIS for assistance with any questions you may have!



[1] https://www.ndis.gov.au/providers/housing-and-living-supports-and-services/specialist-disability-accommodation

[2] https://ourguidelines.ndis.gov.au/supports-you-can-access-menu/home-and-living-supports/specialist-disability-accommodation/are-you-eligible-specialist-disability-accommodation/do-you-have-extreme-functional-impairment-or-very-high-support-needs

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