STEPS Autism Treehouse NDIS Q&A Workshop – helping demystify the process

It was a full house in the Bluff Room at Alex Surf Club for the NDIS Q&A Workshop hosted by STEPS Autism Treehouse and led by Support Coordinators Yuki Smith and Chelsea Dunne from STEPS Social & Community.



The Workshop was a great opportunity for people interested in learning about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to get their questions answered by those who had been through the process before and understood the experience firsthand.

Yuki said she was glad so many families came along to the Workshop as “helping individuals and families navigate the NDIS process” is an important part of her job.

“From applying to pre-planning and then plan implementation, it’s all part of our role as Support Coordinators at STEPS,” she said.

The NDIS provides people with intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive and psychological disabilities funding to access the supports and services they need. The Scheme is designed to help them develop skills and independence which grow over time, with goals – both short and long term – being a significant part of the NDIS plan.

It is now available across all Australian States and Territories, though it was only rolled out in the Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Gympie on the January 1 this year.

“There is still some ironing out to do with the NDIS, but we are confident that the Scheme will continue to increase opportunities for participants to live their life with complete choice and control,” Yuki said.

Participants who attended the Workshop were varied, from those who have been receiving the benefits for some time to those who are completely new to the process and have not yet applied for it.

With limited time to introduce the who, what, where and how of the NDIS, Yuki and Chelsea did a remarkable job of breaking it down into clear steps which made the overall process more achievable and perhaps less intimidating.

They walked participants through the nine steps of the process from checking eligibility to pre-planning and, once approved, connecting with service providers and reviewing the plan annually.

A list of resources were given to participants to help them understand the NDIS, learn to prepare for the planning meeting and how to achieve best results using their individualised NDIS plan.

“One of most valuable and rewarding parts of our (Support Coordinator) role is seeing someone who may never have received funding in their life finally get the supports and services they need to live their best life,” Yuki said.

“There is a huge sense of satisfaction in being able to get to know a participant, listen to their story, help them to link in with services and the community, and watch them flourish.”

For anyone seeking assistance with NDIS Plan Management and Support Coordination, STEPS is there to assist.

Chat to STEPS about NDIS support on 1300 766 962

STEPS Autism Treehouse | September News

Well spring has sprung and the weather is slowly warming up! With that sees us well into the planning of our 6th Annual Treehouse Christmas Party presented, once again, by Vantage Homes! As I write this I can't quite believe we are in our 6th year of delivering this wonderful event. This event came to be when a few of us realised we couldn't take our kids to mainstream community Christmas events due to overcrowding, unsecured venues and excessive noise. So we created our own!

If you haven't attended one of our Christmas parties then you really are missing out on a wonderful day for the whole family! We cater to all needs by providing a fully fenced venue, sensory zones, chill out spaces, rides, waterslides and much much more. So make sure you put December 1st in your calendar and we will see you there with bells on!

Building Community for Coast Families Living with Autism

STEPS Autism Treehouse builds community and connects Sunshine Coast families, children and young people living with Autism.

They provide support to the community with access to resources, life skills programs, education and regular social events. STEPS Deputy Chief Executive Officer Kerry Staines said they are focussed on creating opportunities for young people living with autism and their families to enjoy life to the full and develop meaningful connections with their community.

STEPS Autism Treehouse bring amazing people together

STEPS Autism Treehouse bring amazing people together

“I have always held the view that the best way to support families and young people living with autism is by providing the opportunity to connect with others in their community in a safe, and supported way,” Ms Staines said.

“Key to the success of our services is listening to families to understand what their needs are as they navigate school, social situations and relationships, as well as continual changes to technology, awareness, policy and funding.

“We recently increased our service offering to provide support and social groups for teenagers living with autism which has been really popular.

“We’re continuing to listen to the community and constantly evolving and changing our services so that we can fill the gaps and meet the needs of the community,” she said.

STEPS bring a range of health professionals and autism experts to speak at workshops and presentations throughout the year at their educational workshops to help connect families with the latest information. They will be hosting the inaugural STEPS Sunshine Coast Autism Seminar this October with keynote speaker Professor Tony Attwood.

They also have NDIS Support coordination officers to help with NDIS plan management and support for the Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg regions.

To find out more get in touch on 07 5409 9014

STEPS Autism Treehouse | July News 2019

As the change of season starts to set in and we reach for our jumpers and fluffy slippers it's easy to think our kids will automatically adjust their attire to suit the conditions as we do. Not so! This sensory world can be challenging with some kids not noticing the cold and still rocking shorts and t-shirts in July then others that wear full tracksuits in the middle of summer. It's a constant battle to get a jumper on or get one off!

STEPS Autism Treehouse | June News 2019

What a busy few months! April saw us celebrate Autism Awareness Month and what it means too many of us.

When my son was diagnosed with Autism I came across the poem 'Welcome to Holland' and it really struck a chord with me. The grief was real, and I was mourning for the life I had envisioned for us. But you wipe the tears away and say, right, what do I need to do to give this little person the best start in life. Then you get on with it! Not to say the tears won't reappear when you least expect it!

Welcome to Holland - An Inspirational Poem


This inspirational poem helped STEPS Autism Treehouse Coordinator Claire through the time of her son’s diagnosis.

Welcome to Holland - By Emily Perl Kingsley

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like you’re planning a vacation to Italy. You’re all excited. You get a whole bunch of guidebooks, you learn a few phrases so you can get around, and then it comes time to pack your bags and head for the airport.

Only when you land, the stewardess says, “WELCOME TO HOLLAND.”

You look at one another in disbelief and shock, saying, “HOLLAND? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I SIGNED UP FOR ITALY.”

But they explain that there’s been a change of plan, that you’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.


But stay, you do.

You go out and buy some new guidebooks, you learn some new phrases, and you meet people you never knew existed.

The important thing is that you are not in a bad place filled with despair. You’re simply in a different place than you had planned.

It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy, but after you’ve been there a little while and you have a chance to catch your breath, you begin to discover that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. Holland has Rembrandts.

But everyone else you know is busy coming and going from Italy. They’re all bragging about what a great time they had there, and for the rest of your life, you’ll say, “YES, THAT’S WHAT I HAD PLANNED.”

The pain of that will never go away.

You have to accept that pain, because the loss of that dream, the loss of that plan, is a very, very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to go to Italy, you will never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.