How to write NDIS goals

So you’ve reached your first plan meeting or review meeting. How do you write NDIS goals that will support you in what you need?

How to write NDIS goals

It can seem like a daunting process to have to write your own goals as part of an NDIS plan. But arriving at a planning meeting with ideas of goals in mind will make that first meeting faster, easier, and more focused.

To prepare for your first meeting, we recommend having two things already written down.

  1. A paragraph about your child, their strengths and interests, who they live with and what their daily activities/hobbies include.
  2. A list of the barriers you’re experiencing, and ideas of goals that target the support you need to address those barriers. Some of these may be written as recommendations in a report or assessment.

So now, in three easy steps, you can write amazing goals that are targeted exactly at what you need, and align with funding supports.

Step 1. Write your support wish list

Write down all the things that you want support with, that relate to the ‘disability’. Also consider what’s not age-appropriate development for children and highlight areas where your child is outside the ‘normal’ range. Basically any barriers that are getting in the way of learning/living/looking after themselves.

  • what does your child need to be independent?
  • what self-care does your child need help with? eating? cleaning? toileting? sleeping?
  • what help do they need with transport, work, school?
  • do they have frustrations with communication, social skills, socialising?
  • do they experience frequent meltdowns?

Sometimes it can help to run through the timeline of a day, from waking until going to sleep. Think about each part of the day and what difficulties you encounter at each stage. Write it down.

Step 2. Group and prioritise the list.

If there are a number of items that all relate, e.g. to self-care, or regulation, or socialising, group them together. For example, needing help dressing, eating and toileting can all be grouped under self-care.

Rank each group in order of priority. What would make the most difference? Which items are most important to address now. For example, if an older child is still experiencing toileting accidents and it’s causing lots of frustration and embarrassment at school (not to mention the cleaning), maybe put that number 1.

It’s also helpful to group your list into short-term (immediate) and medium or long-term (to work on in the future).

Step 3. Turn your ‘wish list’ into NDIS goals.

Finally, think about what you want to see – the perfect outcome if barriers were resolved.

For example:

Support List / BarriersExample GoalExample supports
Has daily soiling accidents and doesn’t notice when need to go to the toilet.I would like to develop independence with toileting, to be able to identify when my body tells me I need to go to the bathroom.Core Supports for consumables and continence products. Capacity Building therapies for learning about interoception.
Doesn’t have many friends, gets bullied and doesn’t know how to play with others socially leading to getting upset and frustrated most lunchtimes.I would like to develop my social skills to make and maintain friendships, being able to respond to social situations appropriately.Capacity Building therapies such as speech pathology, occupational therapy and psychology as well as group therapies for building social thinking.
Struggles to catch and throw a ball, ride a bike, balance, which makes sports participation with peers tricky. Tires quickly when handwriting which is very messy.I would like to improve my fine and gross motor skills to be able to sustain physical activity at the same level as my peers, improving my social participation.Capacity Building therapies such as occupational therapy and physiotherapy. Core Supports for motor skill development and support.
Has a very restricted diet and doesn’t eat much beyond a beige diet, making it hard to eat out, go on school camp etcI would like to improve my sensitivities to food, being supported to try new foods and eat a wider and healthy range of foods.Capacity Building therapies such as occupational therapy and dietician. Core Supports for feeding tools.
Has many meltdowns, gets easily frustrated and upset almost daily, making school and home life full of tension.I would like to develop increased emotion regulation skills to build my capacity to regulate my emotions.Capacity Building therapies such as occupational therapy and psychology. Core Supports for sensory calming tools.

We have a list of 21 goals related to autism here if you want more inspiration.

How to prepare for a plan review session

At the end of a NDIS Plan, you will have a review session with your Local Area Coordinator. But this does not need to be arduous. You can request a phone meeting, be prepared and achieve the review in 10 minutes!

Step 1. Prepare 6 weeks in advance

Step 1. Prepare for the review session at least 6 weeks in advance. Request progress/update reports from all your therapists. These don’t need to be on a particular template, but should include details such as:

  • summary of the supports throughout the year, and what content or skills has been worked on in these sessions
  • a report on the progress towards goals. This may include results from any assessments or questionnaires completed during the year, anecdotal observations or notes of when parents reported particular difficulties/successes
  • recommendations about which barriers or areas of support are still required, and a suggestion of what the recommended steps forwards are (generally, a recommendation of how frequent therapy sessions should be)

Step 2. Reflect on your NDIS goals

Step 2. Reflect on your goals an if any of your goals need to changed, be updated, or new goals added to the plan. Use the reports in step 1 to help inform this. If there’s no change (and this is supported by the reports), then that’s easy! Write any new or changes to goals down.

Step 3. Reflect on NDIS funding

Step 3. Next, reflect on where you have the most need in terms of funding. If you have funding across multiple categories (e.g. Core Supports, Capacity Building etc), are these categories still useful? Would you prefer all the funding to be in one bucket like Capacity Building? Do you need more funding in a particular category in order to meet the recommendations in the reports? Decide before the meeting what you need. But don’t be greedy by just requesting more money – think smart about how you can make the most of the funding you have to make the most difference. Write this down.

Now when the phone rings and it’s time for a plan review meeting, you have everything you need to be able to report confidently about your progress, your goals, and advocate for the funding and support needs you have. You can complete the call in just 10 minutes! And remember: be polite, compassionate, and friendly with your support staff – there’s no point getting angry with them. They’re doing their job as best as they can, so help them out and be nice.

Conclusion: how to write NDIS goals

In three easy steps you can write NDIS goals in sophisticated language to meet the support needs you have.

In another three steps you can prepare for a Plan Review meeting and advocate confidently for what you need.

Finally, the more you prepare and plan in advance, the easier it is to work with your Local Area Coordinator on your plan and get exactly what you need.

This is the second post in the Navigating the NDIS series.

Also see:

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