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Frequently Asked Questions

It looks like you are just playing with children. What are you doing?

We are playing! Playing is a child’s occupation and the mechanism through which they learn all life skills. 

Our work is to support a child’s development/goals through play. We use a child’s interest to engage them and build relationship. We then integrate the goals of therapy (PT/OT/SP) into our play together. 

We use standardised assessments to establish baseline developmental levels and review progress. 


Can you work on our school-based goals?

Quite possibly. 

It depends on whether they are also in an individual’s NDIS plan. 

We are engaged by the parent/carer/participant to support the NDIS participant goals that have been identified by the parent/carer/participant in collaboration with an NDIS planner. Sometimes these goals align with school/education goals and sometimes they don’t.

We believe best outcomes for everyone occur when we all work together. 

Case conferencing is a great way to support working together and we are happy to facilitate case conferences where all providers work collaboratively. 


Why are you playing games that seem “babyish” with a 15-year-old?

There are several reasons for this.

The 15-year-old may have interests that are younger than their chronological age. We can engage children more quickly and effectively if we use their interests in our sessions. We have a short period of time to work with the child towards their therapeutic goals, so engagement is key😊

Play Partners is a trauma informed practice. Trauma informed work with children considers the stage of a child’s development. We utilise a developmental profile (DP-4) standardised assessment to provide information about the stage of development across 5 different domains. A 15-year-old boy may have a profile that indicates his stage of cognitive development is the equivalent of a 5.5-year-old. Our intervention is designed around these stages of development. 

A significant amount of our work is alongside children with disability. It is respectful to them as individuals to work to their stage of development. Individuals often have a scattered skill set which is why we assess stage of development in different skill areas and plan our intervention based on this. 


Can you write a letter or support our Assistive Technology request?

The NDIS take their definition of Assistive Technology from the World Health Organisation, which deems it to be “Any device or system that allows individuals to perform tasks they would otherwise be unable to do or increases the ease and safety with which tasks can be performed”.



The NDIS has categorised Assistive Technology into four complexity levels:

Level 1 (basic): is low-cost, low-risk and participants will mostly identify and source this themselves. Examples include: nonslip bathmats, large print labels, doorbells, etc.

Level 2 (standard): are typically ‘off the shelf’ Assistive Technology that many participants can test and trial before making a final choice. Examples include: bath seat, handrails, ramps, etc.

Level 3 (specialised): is similar to Level 2 Assistive Technology, however it often requires modification to suit the needs of the participant. Examples include: desktop electronic magnification, home modifications such as bathroom adaptions and pressure mattresses, etc.

Level 4 (complex): are typically custom made or ‘off the shelf’ but configured uniquely for the individual. Examples include: cochlear implant speech processors, complex home modifications that require major structural change, etc


The NDIS states: “Low cost and low risk items (Level 1) do not need a form to be sent into the NDIS. Participants with Assistive Technology funded supports in their plan can seek advice and buy it themselves.

Supply of Levels 2 – 4, require an appropriate assessment form which needs to be completed by or with the oversight of an Assistive Technology Assessor with suitable experience in that Assistive Technology. Some Assistive Technology will need greater consideration due to particular participant or environment issues.”


Requests for allied health support for NDIS funding of sensory equipment.

Play Partners receives many requests for support letters for low-risk items to be purchased with funds allocated to the assistive technology part of an NDIS plan. As allied health providers we are required to assess whether the item requested fits within the NDIS funding framework and provide clinical justification for purchase of the item. The following examples are to give some context to our clinical decision making under NDIS jurisdiction.


Case example 1

Jenny asks for funding for a swing set and trampoline for her 10-year-old son who has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Jenny would like this equipment for help with emotional regulation, sensory processing, sleeping and general behaviour. 

Would we support this request?

No, we wouldn’t. These play items are not likely to be 'reasonable and necessary'. As you can see in case example 2 below, we balance this against other evidence. This includes trials that test whether the equipment is effective for the individual.

There are also some other things we consider. 

  • Play items such as swings, trampolines and splash pools are often available and accessible in the community or through community providers. As they’re publicly available for a low cost, the benefits of these supports are generally not enough to justify funding them. They are not value for money under NDIS funding criteria.

  • There are other funding bodies more suitable for this type of play equipment. The Variety Club will fund this type of item where there is evidence of need for the item and family financial constraint.

Case example 2

Matt asks for a crash mat and wobble stool for home use to support his 5-year-old daughter who has a diagnosis of global developmental delay and is struggling to pay attention at home for more than a few minutes. The school have the same concerns as Matt. 

Would we support this request?

Yes, we would. Matt reported that the school have purchased these items for Jade to use at school with clearly documented good effect on Jade’s attention/concentration and learning in the classroom. Both items have been trialed at school over a period. They have been assessed by Jade’s occupational therapist as an important component of a sensory diet that works well for Jade at school. The evidence suggests that replicating this at home will improve her attention in the home environment also. 

These sensory items are considered reasonable and necessary to support Jades development across all environments. They are cost effective and are required to be used by Jade multiple times daily, as part of a trialed and demonstrated, effective sensory diet. 

Case example 3

Brenda asks for a boat swing and a disability adapted bike for her 30-year-old son with level 3 spastic quadriplegia and intellectual disability. 


Would we support this request?

Yes, we would. The boat swing is an accessible option for Kane, who has fixed knee flexion contractures as a long-term effect of lower limb spasticity. Other swings are not appropriate for Kane. We know from Kane’s day option provider that the swing forms an integral part of his occupation and regulation in their setting. The boat swing is cost effective, and it is considered reasonable and necessary for this opportunity to be available to Kane at home on weekends when he does not have access to the day options boat swing. An adaptive bike is a level 3 (specialised) item and so would be applied for as required by the AT assessor.

Are you a Child Safe Organisation? 

Yes. Play Partners child safe environments policy was written to demonstrate the strong commitment of our organisation to the safety of children and young people and to establishing and maintaining child safe and child friendly environments.

Review our Child Safe Environments Policy here

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