Disability scheme revolutionary

IT WAS 1963 when Chris Sparks was run over in the driveway of his family home by a reversing car driven by his father.

Now 53, he has not walked since.

But Mr Sparks wasn't thinking about himself when the Gillard and O'Farrell governments announced a landmark agreement to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme last week.

"The first thing people forget is this isn't a scheme for people with disabilities, it's an insurance scheme for every Australian," he said.

"Every week there are more spinal chord injuries, more acquired brain injuries, more people born with a disability," he said.

"It's an epidemic: 8000 to 10,000 people every year are affected by a disability, most have no insurance scheme to cover them.

"I've been in a wheelchair since I was four years old.

"People like me are old and grumpy now but we know how to live with it, we've settled into a lifestyle.

"It's the newly disabled people and people born with a disability who will really benefit from this.

"It will revolutionise the way we support these people."

Mr Sparks is the executive officer of Assisted Technology Suppliers Australasia, a national organisation based in Parramatta.

His company was granted $68,000 in federal funds to plan a national accreditation scheme for occupational therapists and suppliers of aids for people with disabilities.

The grant was awarded after the state and federal governments signed the historic agreement to fund the NDIS almost 50:50.

The scheme will be fully operational in 2018.

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