A parent and carer's guide to NDIS funding for autistic kids

Jonathan Salgo
May 31, 2023

This guide contains the most common types of funding seen in the plans of kids diagnosed with autism in the NDIS. We’ve explained it all in everyday language, so you can know exactly what services you can access for them.

How to use this interactive guide

No need to read this blog post from top to bottom. Instead, skip to the sections you need.

Some handy tips.

  • Read this alongside your NDIS plan.
  • Use the table of contents on the side to jump to the support budgets and categories you see in your plan.
  • Bookmark this on your device to read again later.

Consider whether a support is ‘reasonable and necessary’ to your child’s disability before deciding to use their NDIS funding to access it. We’ve created a simple checklist for you at the bottom of this article to help you decide.

This is a tailored version of our broader NDIS funding guide that covers all the funding categories and budgets. You can read the full version here.

Understanding budgets and categories

‘Budgets’ and ‘categories’ are the way every NDIS plan is structured. The Support Budgets set the general theme or purpose of funding provided within that budget. 

Support categories are what each bit of funding is allocated against, and can describe what you can use that funding for.

How support budgets and support categories are structured in an NDIS plan

We’ll be focussing on the two support budgets commonly found in autism plans for kids (Core Supports and Capacity Building Supports), and support categories you are most likely to see under these.

Common Core Supports funding for autistic kids

About Core Supports

Purpose of this budget: To help your child with basics in life. Most commonly it is used by parents to pay for products that are needed because of their disability.


What’s this category for?

Any items that are specifically useful in your life because of your disability.

What can you get?

Consumables need to be low-risk (unlikely to be harmful if misused) and low-cost (under $1500). Some examples include:

  • Communication tools or apps
  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • Continence products
  • Assistive cutlery
  • Sensory or adaptive clothing

Common Capacity Building Supports funding for autistic kids

About Capacity Building Supports

Purpose of this budget: To increase your child’s ability to do things independently, in all areas of their life, by teaching them new skills or strengthening existing ones.

Improved daily living skills 

What’s this category for?

Support and therapy that assists your child in building their independence in whatever areas you need.

Who or what can help with this?

  • Early childhood educators 
  • Occupational therapists can help with self care such as toileting and dressing, emotional regulation, and socialising
  • Speech pathologists can help with understanding verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Psychologists can help improve coping skills, behaviour management and social skills
  • Physiotherapists can help with movement and strength
  • Music therapists can help with communication, social skills and sensory issues
  • Art therapists can help with communication, imagination and sensory issues
  • Play therapists can help with socialising, empathising, and building relationships

Improved relationships

What’s this category for?

To help your child overcome behavioural barriers in the way they achieve their goals and positive relationships with others. 

Who and what can help with this?

  • Positive behaviour support practitioner

Improved life choices

What’s this category for?

To pay your invoices and help you keep track of your NDIS funding.

Who or what can help with this?

  • Plan management

Increased social and community participation

What’s this category for?

Support that focuses on your child’s confidence and ability to be part of your wider community. This is more commonly funded when your child is transitioning into and going through their teenage years.

Who or what can help with this?

  • Mentor 
  • Group activities and programs
  • Out of the box disability services offered in the community

Improved health and wellbeing

What’s this category for?

Therapy and support to increase or maintain your child’s wellbeing or mobility that’s impacted by your disability.

Who can help with this?

  • Dietitian
  • Exercise physiologist

Support coordination

What’s this category for?

To help you coordinate all the different NDIS services and supports you have in place. This is more commonly funded in complex family and disability circumstances.

Who can help with this?

  • Support coordinator
  • Specialist support coordinator

Is it reasonable and necessary?

The NDIS is designed to give you access to disability-related supports. As such, your funding can only be used for things that are considered ‘reasonable and necessary’ - which is a set of official criteria for using your NDIS funding. We’ve simplified it into a checklist below.

If you can answer ‘yes’ to all of the following questions, the support can be funded by the NDIS.

  1. Is this a product or service you need due to a disability?
  2. Does it help you meet your goals?
  3. Is it reasonable value for money?
  4. Is there evidence for it to work?
  5. Is it a support you wouldn’t be able to receive from a family or community member?
  6. Is the NDIS the most suitable funding scheme to pay for this support?

Book in a Plan Guidance Session

If you want some 1:1 support and someone to talk to about your child’s individual plan, our team is here for you. 

A Plan Guidance Session is a free 20 minute call where we can explain your child’s NDIS plan, highlight any particular restrictions or rules to keep in mind with their funding, and help you find the right providers for them

Fill out your details below and we’ll be in touch.

Related posts

An everyday guide to your NDIS funding

An easy-to-understand breakdown of what you can get with your NDIS plan, all in one place.

Why getting started with your NDIS plan can be hard and what you can do about it

You're not alone if you feel overwhelmed by your NDIS plan. Here are 4 common roadblocks and ways to get unstuck.

Top 5 things to look for when choosing the right NDIS provider

If you find yourself overwhelmed while searching for providers you’re not alone...

Get started with HeyHubble