How to:Get the Most from the Planning Process
If you’re reading this blog about getting the most from your NDIS planning process, then it may mean that you have successfully applied. If so, congratulations on being accepted into the NDIS. Now it’s time for the hard work, getting a plan approved and accessing your funds.
There are things that you should do and things you need to know so that you can complete the planning process. These things are important, because not only does it make things easier, but it will help ensure you make the most out of your plan!
What is your NDIS Plan?
Your NDIS Plan is the document that outlines your needs, goals, hopes and aspirations, as well as your disability supports required to help you attain them.
Prior to your Plan Management Meeting
The most important thing that you can do is to create and have a document that is all about you. These are covered in the NDIS Planning Handbook. However, this is an integral part of your NDIS Journey. Therefore, I will cover it in this blog entry.
NDIS Planning Handbook
The NDIA have designed this booklet with sections that you can fill in that answer the questions in this blog. Alternatively, you can create your own document and answer the questions as you go along.
Your Current Situation and Network of Support
For starters, you should understand your current situation and your network of support.
At this point of the process you should have the following data on hand:
- NDIS number (it’s included in your access letter)
- Your disability/disabilities and development issues that you have.
- How your disability/disabilities impact and affect your day-to-day life.
Your Support Network
It is important to understand that this extends past your immediate family and close friends. For example, if you have any colleagues at work or university who provide you support then you should write them down. They don’t have to be someone who you work with on an everyday basis but someone who helps focus and support your disability when you are with them.
You will determine which people make up your current support network and the key data and responsibilities they have in your life (e.g. their relationship to you and how they are involved in your day-to-day life.
Your Current Situation
It is important to establish your current situation. This will serve as a baseline of where you are now and help you set goals to where you want to be in the future. With regards to future goals
It is important to understand that the NDIA understands that there may be unforeseen events that set you back. Therefore, failing to meet goals usually isn’t a problem so long as they were reasonably realistic at the time you set them.
With regards to your current situation, you should be able to provide a snapshot into your life.
Who do you live with? Do you have a group of friends that you spend your time with? Are you close to your family and friends? How long have you been a part of your social group?
Additionally, what do you do on a day-to-day basis? How do you invest your time? Do you have any hobbies and activities that you participate in? Are you employed? Do you go to school? Are you a volunteer? Answering questions such as these are important because the NDIA wants to help you create a plan that enables you to be as socially active as possible.
Government Funded or Organised Services
The NDIA acknowledges the law that all Australians have a right to accessible services supplied by the government. In this section it is important to provide your assigned NDIS official the knowledge of what services you access from the government.
This does not just mean ‘I am on the Disability Support Pension.’
Questions of relevancy here include:
- Are you a member of any community-driven organisations (e.g. local area sports clubs, public libraries, etc.)?
- Do you attend any religious celebrations?
- Are you affiliated with any clubs such as the RSL?
If you do belong to these types of organisations how often do you attend? What do you do for them? Are you a volunteer? What is their role in your life?
Do you utilize or require other government services?
Examples here include:
- Health professionals (e.g. your general practitioners, psychologists, physicians, mental health support organisations, etc.)
- Public transport services (do you use it to get to work? To activities?)
- Education services (e.g. universities, TAFE, vocational training, school, etc.)
If so, what are their roles in your life? What do you do with them? How often are you involved with them?
Your Weekly Routine
The next step is to breakdown and analyse your weekly routine. Here, you want to give a typical day. For example, on a Monday my stepson goes to day care, I work for a few hours and I have a date or an adventure with my partner. This happens most weeks so I can safely write that into my Monday spot.
You also need to consider who you receive support from so that you can accomplish these tasks. Using my previous example, I would write that my stepson who has special needs receives support from the team of staff at his day care centre, that my partner supports me getting to and from places. If, for example, I had a meeting with my dietician or physiotherapist I would write that I receive a referral from my general practitioner. To continue these in the future I will require that the day care team continue providing their care, that my partner keeps supporting me and that I am able to continue to receive bulk billing or funds necessary for physiotherapy.
You need to do this for every day of the week. For days that you don’t have anything that happens with regularity I recommend pencilling in your favourite activities that can occur in that timespan.
There may be activities that you do that happen occasionally. For example, I grew up a rabid sports fan and my mother was a member of the Carlton Football Club. When I was old enough to attend, I too became a member. I would go every week with her. This is what I would write as I cannot point to it happening regularly and the days of the game change almost every week.
This is also the place to write the activities that you do once or twice a month. For example, you may attend the local farmers markets or have a monthly family function. You should do similarly to your weekly routine and explain what supports you utilize a
Areas of Happiness
…and what supports you require to continue doing these activities.
One of the key things that the NDIA wants on your NDIS prep plan is the things in your life that make you happy. For example, if you’re an avid gardener then this is something that you would write here. Another example would be if you have a pet, have a good friend with a child you enjoy spending time with, etc. As a result, you need to write the things and events in your life that drive your happiness here.
Areas of Improvement
Have a think about the activities and events in your life that you would like to improve. For example, if you are unemployed or in a job that you don’t enjoy then you should consider writing about where you would like to take your career. If you’re living arrangements aren’t the way you would like them to be then this could be an area of improvement in your life. Would you like to gain skills and education qualifications that would help you advance in your career? If so, then this is the perfect place to write them!
It is important to explain how your life is now and where you would like to improve this.
At this point you should achieve a higher level of clarity in your life than what you had previously. As a result, you can now start setting goals that reflect accurately on where you are now and where you want to be in the future.
Setting Achievable Goals
Setting goals is an important component on your NDIS plan. Goals are things that you want to achieve through the utilisation of your NDIS plan. Your goals help you identify what you want to achieve in the short and long term.
Goals do not have to be complex. They can be as simple as enrolling in a TAFE course, developing your independence (e.g. getting your license), actively pursuing your hobbies or interests in the community, etc. The scope for potential opportunities is almost as limitless as you want it to be.
The Best Goals are SMART
I urge you to utilize the SMART Goal system. A SMART goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. More often than not SMART goals are the best goals because they lay down the how, when, what and why.
Specific means that the goal is well defined and clear. For example, you may have a specific goal of enrolling into a marketing degree via online education. This is a specific goal.
Measurable means that you can measure the criteria and progress to achieving the goal. I want you to imagine a progress bar with the previous example – you are going to enrol into a marketing degree. Measurable progress would see you visiting the university’s website and downloading the information on the course. Secondly, you might call the university to learn about enrolment. Third, you enrol into the course. Fourth, you successfully complete each unit of learning. Finally, you have completed all of the units you are awarded with your degree. Each step of the process has been measurable.
Goals must be achievable. This simply means that the goals that you set are actually obtainable and not impossible. For example, it wouldn’t do me any good if I set achieving that degree in six months. That’s because even if you’re a champion student, degrees take several years to achieve.
It is important that goals are realistic. This means that they are both relevant to what I am attempting to do with my life and that they are again within reach. For example, the majority of us will never be astronauts for NASA. Therefore, it is unrealistic to set becoming an astronaut as your goal.
Finally, goals must be timely. By timely, we mean that goals have a clearly defined timeline with a beginning and an end. The reason why timeliness is important is it creates a sense of needing to do something today but also understanding that there are processes that have to be completed over time in order to arrive at a finish time. For example, that university degree begins with getting all of the information about the course and it ends with attaining the degree.
There are two sets of goals that you will present the NDIA with for your plan. The first are short-term goals.
Short-term goals generally represent the most pressing needs in your day-to-day life. They are usually to be completed within 12 months. What would you most like to achieve in the next year? It may be something like enrolling in that university degree or you might aspire to completing tasks independently (e.g. walking, shopping, bathing, etc.). There may be things that you want to achieve that improves your life from a social perspective.
You can also breakdown your medium- and long-term goals into smaller bite sized chunks. For example, your short-term goals if you were to target a university degree would be to enrol in the course and to complete some or all of the first-year units.
It is also important to note why you want to achieve that specific goal and when you want to achieve it by. Afterall, a goal can be as short-term as a day, a month or even multiple years.
The objective here is to identify your goals but to also work out what you need in terms of aids and supports to achieve those goals.
Medium- and Long-term Goals
Medium- and long-term goals are generally more significant in nature than short-term goals. However, they may not be more important. For example, developing the skills and the ability to do things independently that can be achieved within a year may be more important or a part of enabling you to complete a degree.
However, what medium- and long-term goals do is that they establish where you want your life to be headed in a clearer way than short-term goals. For example, you want to successfully complete a degree because it will help you attain an employment position in an industry that you cannot currently gain employment in. Therefore, your short-term goal would be to enrol and begin the course, the medium-term goal to complete the degree with the long-term goal of landing that sweet job.
Long-term goals may also be building your skills up to live independently, with a partner or even with friends. What do you need to achieve to make that goal a reality? What skills do you need? What resources do you require? What is the plan of attack to get there and how can your NDIS plan help you?
Your NDIS plan is there to make it easier to achieve short-, medium-, and long-term goals!
Coming Next: How to Manage Your NDIS Funds
In our next blog, we will be guiding you through the ways in which you can manage your NDIS funding and achieving the best results. Of course, Bradannii has an outstanding staff dedicated and committed to helping you achieve your goals.
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