- To provide a National Network of on-going peer support to all families regardless of the disability/special needs involved.
- To link families together with similar needs.
- To liaise with Defence and other Federal and State Departments concerning the issues that affect families with special needs, particularly those being mobile.
- To raise public awareness regarding the difficulties that Defence families with special needs face.
- To provide a coordinated approach through the local and National Network in obtaining disability information.
- To provide assistance in accessing disability services / equipment and information.
- To disseminate information relating to disabilities / special needs as well as any Defence-related issues.
- To provide an advocacy service for families.
Advocacy and Lobbying
The Defence Special Needs Support Group Inc has been actively and successfully raising awareness of the difficulties that mobile families face at a State and Federal level.
- Reducing waiting list time for Early Intervention programmes, therapy services, equipment supply, respite services and post-school options.
- Standardising criteria for the inclusion of children with special needs in educational settings.
- Obtaining standardised services from the various disability information agencies throughout Australia.
- Standardising and reducing assessments from one service provider or education authority to another.
- The result of all of this is that whilst it is still sometimes difficult to move around Australia, many organisations and service providers are aware of the additional problems faced by families with special needs. Indeed a number of provisions have subsequently been put into place after discussions with the DSNSG. These include:
- Transfer of disability equipment across State and Territory borders where that equipment is on loan from that State / Territory equipment scheme.
- Enable people transferring to a different location on a long term basis to access services according to relative need rather than time spent on a waiting list.
- Portability of Post school options and respite package funding
- Transitioning to schools
- Employment for spouse
- Financial Assistance
- Posting Assistance, Housing, Removals, Transit
- Family Support
- Welfare Issues
The Defence Special Needs Support Group Inc has been actively involved ADF policy development resulting in a new range of measures to assist families with special needs on posting to a new locality. These include:
- Recognition of Special Needs
- Special Needs Pre-Posting Visit
- Therapy Assistance
- Personal Care Assistance
- Respite Assistance
- Valet Unpack
- Special Needs families and overseas postings
- Equipment Assistance
- Housing Assistance