Charity Spalding and Mark Brown are life-long friends whose lives are heavily involved in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – but on different sides of the fence. Charity is a dietitian working in the disability space, while Mark is an NDIS participant, having had a congenital neuromuscular disability since birth. In this podcast, Charity and Mark touch on how dietitians can work with NDIS participants to maximise their potential by helping them to better enjoy their life, actively participate in the community and achieve their goals. Mark highlights the positive change in mindset from the old system to the NDIS, while Charity speaks to the intricacies of working in the space, how NDIS support differs from other areas of dietetics and the skills required to provide a safe service.

Biographies

Charity Spalding is a dietitian who is passionate about nutrition for people with disability. After initially working at various adult hospitals, Charity has spent the last decade providing nutrition support for children with disability and their families. In the last 3 years she has also branched out into private practice focusing on providing dietetic services to NDIS participants – both adults and children.

At the beginning of 2020, before the year looked so ominous, she decided to leave the safety net of a government health job and commit fully to her disability and paediatric focused private practice – Accessible Nutrition.

Charity is also a co-author of the inclusive cookbook “Easy Healthy Tasty” – a cookbook for anyone, designed to empower those who aren’t confident in the kitchen to cook for themselves. 

In her spare time, Charity… oh, who is she kidding. There’s no spare time when you’re a wife, full-time mum to 2 young, delightful kids and trying to grow a part-time private practice too! 

Mark Brown is a lifelong user of disability services and since 2018 has been a ‘participant’ of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (the NDIS). Mark has a congenital neuromuscular disability and uses his NDIS funding to pay for daily attendant care, services from allied health professionals, and equipment like his motorised wheelchair, and other assistive technology. Mark lives in Melbourne with his partner who is also an NDIS participant as she has a disability herself.

When not navigating the NDIS for himself, Mark works as a researcher and consultant focusing on …you guessed it…disability. In 2013 he completed a Ph.D. in Psychology, and has worked within the disability sector, to help businesses, organisations, governments, and the broader community answer important questions with hard data. 

Mark enjoys eating out and in, and his favourite cookbook is “Easy Healthy Tasty” — the inclusive cookbook co-authored by his old friend, Charity Spalding. 

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Charity and Mark’s respective backgrounds, and how they’ve come together in the NDIS space
  • The differences between the old system and the NDIS – the positive outcomes and things that are still a work in progress
  • Mark’s experiences as a participant in the NDIS
  • Mark’s tips for other people looking to go through the NDIS process
  • Charity’s tips on how dietitians can get involved in providing their services to NDIS participants
  • Charity’s views on how NDIS support differs from other areas of dietetics

Additional resources

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