NDIS Achieving your goals

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Learning to define goals is essential in order to get the best out of the NDIS plan.

If you or the person you care for is eligible for supports and services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) you need to start preparing for your NDIS planning meeting. During that meeting, you will discuss goals, the support you now have and what needs to be put in place to assist you to reach the identified goals.

The importance of goals

The NDIS will fund reasonable and necessary supports in order for a person with a disability to pursue their goals and aspirations; increase their independence, social and economic participation and develop their capacity to actively take part in the community. Some of the keys areas the NDIS will support you are in: education, employment, social participation, building/ maintaining independence, living arrangements, and health and wellbeing. Once you have identified your goals they will then fall under NDIS categories such as Improved Daily Living Skills, Improved Health and Wellbeing, Increase Social and Community Participation, School Leaver Employment Supports and Finding and Keeping a Job. Success is measured by how well you, or your loved one, moves towards achieving each goal.

NDIS goals vs personal goals

It is essential to remember that the NDIS will fund reasonable and necessary supports in order for a person to lead a meaningful life and increase their independence and ability to participate in the community. In order to set your NDIS goals you first need to define your personal goals. Think about what you would like your life to look like in three years. Then figure out how you might get to that point. In that process you will be able to identify short- and long-term goals. The long-term goal might be to get a job but in order to achieve that you may need to achieve a few short-term goals such as learning how to take public transport independently or overcome shyness by increasing your social skills. These are the type of goals that could be achieved within a year if you used supports provided by the NDIS.

Goal setting and planning

When you are deciding on goals think about what you want to try, what you currently like doing and want to keep doing and want to change. Also consider what you need to improve your morale or make daily activities easier. Be specific. For example, would you like to lose weight and learn to cook healthy meals? Do you want to improve your communication skills or increase your independence?

Once you have defined your goals, consider the supports you will need to help you to achieve them. For example, do you need to see an exercise physiologist, attend a cooking course or work with a speech pathologist?

Remember to include equipment needs. For example, clients who are under the age of 18 may need their equipment adjusted for growth. Also take big life changes into account such as starting or finishing school, moving from primary to secondary school, transitioning into work or undergoing surgery. Big changes can affect your needs so think about setting goals and considering supports around these.

Steps to success

When you have identified your goals, refer to the NDIS price guide and review the different support categories. This will help you better understand the supports you require to help you achieve your goals and how to best use your NDIS funds. The goals and outcomes you are hoping to achieve need to be practical and measurable because they will be reviewed at the end of your annual plan.

Achieving & reviewing goals

Take time out during the year to review your needs and your goals, for example every three months. This allows you the opportunity to reassess what you require. If you are struggling to achieve your goal or you find your plan isn’t working for you, go back to your Local Area Coordinator or your Support Coordinator and get the changes you need to make it work for you through a plan review.

This is important because at the end of the year, your service providers will provide a summary report outlining how you have progressed towards your goal. These reports will be reviewed by your NDIA planner and may influence the outcome of your next year’s plan. Make sure that when you request your review document that it includes factors that may have limited your progress towards a goal, for example, hospitalisation or changes in circumstances.

Do not be surprised if your next NDIS plan looks different to your previous plan. It is good to reassess what you need. You may identify different supports and support providers to give you more opportunities, to expand on your goals and aspirations.