What Are Informal Supports & Why Are They Important?

Informal supports are not paid or regulated but are still important to people with disabilities. These people provide a person with physical and emotional support. These support systems can range from a warm welcome to a peer network. The purpose of informal supports is to make a person feel better, and they are not always a direct replacement for paid support. 

However, people with disabilities often need help with day-to-day tasks, and informal supports can help with these tasks.

Who can Qualify as an Informal Support?

Informal supports can include anything from employment-related counselling to dietetics to physiotherapy. Health workers, such as occupational therapists and psychologists, can also provide some forms of support. These health workers are trusted and able to offer customised support from an NDIS disability provider South East

Informal supports can include friends, family members, and the local community. Providing these supports informally is not a paid role yet are a great help to people with disabilities.

While informal support may seem like a good idea, it’s important to remember that there are potential risks and consequences. Providing support that limits the person’s choice and decision-making may violate the principles of Article 12 of the CRPD e.g. paternalism and participant lack of agency. If this occurs, legal recognition is essential.

Informal support can also protect individual human rights. Individual safeguarding means getting to know a person, developing trust, and becoming involved in their day-to-day life. It also involves representing the person’s interests and rights. However without formal safeguards, these informal supports may not be effective. 

Informal supports can still be a valuable safeguard in the right circumstances. If they are provided in the right way, these informal supports can help protect a person’s rights and wellbeing. Many people find comfort in writing about their problems, receiving feedback from others through social media or email, or using chat rooms and forums. Some people even turn to religious institutions to seek help and guidance with their problems. These organisations often provide counselling. In some cases, informal support can provide the support they need to overcome life’s challenges.

Differences Between Formal & Informal Supports

There are many types of informal support available to people with disabilities. These supports may come in the form of emotional support, peer support, invitations to events, and physical assistance. The main difference between these forms of support is that they do not require payment or formal agreement. They are, however, helpful in many ways. 

Informal support is a form of peer support that does not require any government funding. This support can be from a family member, a friend, or a community member. 

Formal support is provided by a government agency, a rehabilitation centre, or other groups. Formal supports include physical assistance and therapy. They include any supports that are specifically approved for funding in the NDIS plan. 

A core informal support are parents. A support coordinator can further help families understand their child’s plan and maximise the efficacy of their informal support.

If you need more information on who is eligible for informal support, contact Personalised Support Services.

Our coordinators can connect you with an NDIS disability provider in the South East region and assist you with applying for and understanding your NDIS plan. With a personalised approach, you can be sure that our highly skilled and experienced Support Coordinators will help simplify the process no matter what your goals are.

Contact us, our team would be happy to assist you!

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