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NDIS Early Childhood Intervention: For Children Younger Than Nine

One in five Australian children will experience learning difficulties in their lifetime.

The NDIS currently supports over 80,000 children with some form of developmental delay or disability through the Early Childhood Approach [3].

But what happens after your child passes the cut-off age?

Here we explain the NDIS early years process and answer those pressing questions for those wondering about the NDIS early intervention age range.

We tell you what will happen when your child ages out of the early intervention scheme, what moving out of the NDIS could look like and what moving into the main NDIS scheme could entail.

How Does the NDIS Define Early Childhood Intervention?

Early childhood intervention aims to provide access to support for young children (younger than nine years) to help them get the best start in life. Early intervention supports are specifically designed for children with:

  1. Developmental concerns (undiagnosed)
  2. Developmental delay
  3. Disability that is likely to be permanent

Read the NDIS eligibility checklist here.

The NDIS Early Childhood Approach aims to maximise each child’s potential and promote their participation in everyday life. An early intervention approach is centred on identifying and addressing a child’s needs as early as possible to achieve the best outcomes.

The Best Practice Guidelines for Early Childhood Intervention [1] tell us that children and families benefit most when intervention is:

  • Family centred
  • Respectful of different cultures, backgrounds and values
  • Focused on including the child within their community
  • Delivered in places familiar to the child and family, by a team of familiar professionals
  • Practiced daily and reflective of the family’s goals for their child

Find out if your child meets early intervention requirements criteria for a developmental delay or disability [2].

What is the Earliest Age for Early Childhood Intervention?

Families can access NDIS support for their child from birth if they are eligible. The National Disability Insurance Scheme NDIS provides early intervention support for children who have developmental delays or disabilities that significantly impact their daily functioning or ability to participate in activities [3].

It’s important for families to engage with early intervention services as soon as possible for disability support, assistive therapies for developmental delay and informal supports; early intervention ensures the child receives the support they need during crucial stages of development.

Intervention at the earliest possible stage is shown to significantly improve outcomes for the child, helping to improve their quality of life as they grow.

Find an Early Childhood Partner near you for help with applying to the NDIS and connecting with appropriate supports.

What is the Age Cut-Off for NDIS Early Intervention Support?

Children aged from birth to eight years old can access early intervention support as part of the Early Childhood Approach.

These support services are specifically tailored to benefit young children in crucial stages of development in the hope that it promotes their participation in education, social and family settings and decreases their chance of needing intervention in the future.

After the cutoff age of nine years, children with ongoing needs may be transferred into the main NDIS scheme.

What if My Child is Older Than the Cut-off Age But Needs Assistance?

Key information:

  • Children younger than nine may be supported by NDIS early childhood partners
  • Children nine and over may be supported by NDIS local area coordinators

The NDIS will still provide support to your child after the NDIS early intervention cut-off age through a local area coordinator.

Local area coordinators work with participants aged over seven years to develop and implement their plans to achieve positive outcomes. The LAC will help you and your child understand their plan, choose and connect with service providers, link you to community supports and re-assess your child’s goals as they progress.

To find your nearest local area coordinator, early childhood partners, use this search tool.

What Happens to My Child When They Turn Nine?

Children who are currently NDIS participants and require ongoing support will transition to a local area coordinator when they turn nine years of age.

Transitioning to mainstream NDIS services marks a shift from a childhood early intervention-focused approach to one that addresses an individual’s needs across their lifetime.

Your child’s plan will be continually re-evaluated based on their progress. When your child meets their goals, or turns nine, a review will determine whether:

  1. Your child is ready to leave the NDIS and maintain linkages with mainstream community services, or
  2. Your child should continue to receive supports from an NDIS local area coordinator

Moving on from the NDIS

Moving on from the NDIS can occur at different stages for participants depending on their age, progress and support needs. Your child may be ready to move on from the NDIS if:

  • Their functional capacity and independence have improved thanks to early years of intervention services already delivered
  • Circumstances change such as relocation or changes in family circumstances, where families may find that their child’s needs are better met through community supports
  • Eligibility has been reassessed and a child’s disability may no longer meet the criteria of a permanent or significant disability

Moving into the Main NDIS Scheme

The mainstream scheme covers a broader range of NDIS support services that are designed to facilitate the individuals’ participation in education, employment, social and community activities.

For some, transitioning into the main NDIS scheme may present several challenges, including:

  1. Complexity navigating the NDIS including understanding eligibility criteria, planning processes, and effort required to access necessary supports
  2. Limited availability in regional and remote areas
  3. Facilitating communication between service providers

How Does Your Key Worker Help Support These Transitions?

Here’s how a key worker assists with the transition from early intervention to main NDIS services:

  • Coordination of supports: gathering assessments and all relevant information to aid in a smooth transition between services
  • Guidance with NDIS matters: your key worker will be able to provide advice on applications and planning process and ensure that your family understands their rights and responsibilities
  • Linkage to services: Your key worker will facilitate referrals and assist your family in accessing the necessary supports identified in your child’s individual plan
  • Personal advocate: Key workers will help your family voice their goals and preferences, advocating for appropriate funding and resources
  • Continuous monitoring: Your key worker will continue to provide support beyond the initial transition period, monitoring your child’s development and progress and reassessing their needs over time. They facilitate regular reviews of your child’s NDIS plan, making adjustments as necessary to ensure continued access to necessary support services.

To find out if you have funding for a key worker, see under Capacity Building Supports in your child’s NDIS plan, or contact your local early childhood partner for clarification.


Children aged younger than nine years can access early intervention support through the NDIS. Once your child turns nine, they are still able to access NDIS support through the main scheme, providing they meet certain criteria.

While there are challenges, transitioning from early childhood intervention into the main NDIS scheme offers opportunities to enhance inclusion, access to appropriate supports, and participation in the community.

Having a key worker on your side will streamline the transition process for your child and your family. They will guide you through NDIS matters, ensure linkages to services and continue to be your child’s personal advocate.


[1] Reimagine Australia, 2024. What is Best Practice?

[2] NDIS, 2024. What is Early Childhood Intervention?

[3] NDIS, 2024. What is the NDIS?,best%20outcomes%20throughout%20their%20lives.

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