Setting goals is a crucial aspect of the NDIS journey. It can make a world of difference in securing the right support for your child in their NDIS Plan. Think of goals as your roadmap, guiding you and your child towards harnessing their strengths and making better choices together.
Curious about how to navigate goal setting with your child? Tabitha, our friendly plan manager from Leap in! is here to answer some common questions about children, their goals, and how they connect with the NDIS.
What is a goal?
A goal is a specific target or objective that someone is striving to reach and willing to work towards. They provide a clear direction and purpose, helping us stay focused along the way.
You can think of goals as being like building blocks that help us construct the life we want. Just like smaller blocks stacked together eventually form a building, each smaller goal accomplished helps to create a foundation for bigger achievements for your child.
How do goals work in an NDIS Plan?
Setting goals is part of developing your child’s NDIS Plan. Goals give the NDIS information about what’s important to your child and what they want to achieve in life.
For an NDIS Plan to be approved, it must include at least one goal. You can add up to four action steps of how your child will achieve their goal. Each goal should include details about how the NDIS and other supports (like family, community and mainstream supports) will help.
Your child’s goal or goals will be included in their participant statement as part of their NDIS Plan. Supports can be added or removed as needs and goals change. And you can change your child’s goals at any time.
I’ve heard that the NDIS likes participants to set “SMART” goals. What are these and how do we set them?
The SMART goals process is helpful for people on the NDIS as it allows for clear, measurable and meaningful goal setting.
SMART goals have five characteristics. They should be:
• Specific – clearly defined
• Measurable – easy to track
• Achievable – realistic
• Relevant – aligned with the child’s interests and needs
• Time-bound – with a timeframe for accomplishment.
When setting SMART goals, work through the five characteristics, one step at a time. Then create a one sentence statement that brings it all together.
For example: By December next year, with the support of my therapist, I will have developed coping strategies to manage anxiety in social situations so I can comfortably spend time with my friends and engage in social activities.
Can you please explain short- term and long-term NDIS goals?
Sure! Short-term NDIS goals can be achieved in a relatively short period of time, usually less than 12 months. They can help your child make progress and build momentum.
An example of a short-term goal is:
In the next three months, I want to build the strength in my fingers and improve coordination so I can clean my teeth properly without help.
Longer-term goals require more time and effort. They may even take several years. Breaking them into smaller steps makes them more achievable.
An example of a long-term goal is:
By the end of next year, I want to attend my local primary school with the right support to help me make friends and be an active part of my class.
How can I involve my young child in goal setting?
Depending on their age and abilities, encouraging active participation can help your child to understand the purpose behind the goals. Not to mention take proactive steps to achieving them!
Start by talking about what they’re good at and where they need assistance. Focus initially on small, achievable goals where they can make meaningful progress. And don’t forget to celebrate all the wins, no matter how small!
What types of goals are suitable for a school-aged child’s NDIS Plan?
It’s a good idea to prioritise functional goals, especially for primary school children. Consider goals that will have a practical impact on the child’s daily life and education.
If your child struggles with handwriting, a functional goal might be to improve writing to complete school work independently.
You may also like to align goals with your child’s strengths and to help keep them motivated and engaged. For example, if a child enjoys music, set a goal related to music therapy or learning a musical instrument.
Another common goal for kids at school is self-advocacy to improve independence and confidence. Set goals for your child to express their needs and preferences. Steps may include building effective communication with peers and teachers and learning to seek support when needed.
Do you have any advice for getting funding for goals in my child’s NDIS Plan?
Firstly, be clear and specific. Ensure goals are well-defined and aligned with the NDIS eligibility criteria. Be clear on what your child is aiming to achieve and how the supports will benefit them.
Don’t forget to provide relevant evidence and supporting documentation, such as medical reports, assessments or professional recommendations.
And, spend some time reviewing and understanding NDIS budget categories. Ensure goals fall within the appropriate category to maximise the chances of funding approval.
Don’t forget that every support purchased with NDIS funds must meet the reasonable and necessary criteria. It must be related to your child’s disability needs, be good value for money and be likely to be effective and beneficial.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION ON UNDERSTANDING GOALS CHECK OUT OUR EGUIDE HERE.
Call Leap in! on 1300 05 78 78 or email [email protected] to speak with a team member experienced in the NDIS and early childhood approach.