In order to use your NDIS funding to access a support, it must in some way help you to achieve one of your “NDIS goals”, and considering the definition of the word “goal”, it’s important you set those which will have the most positive impact on your life and lifestyle.
But let’s take a step back for a moment and look at NDIS goals first.
Essentially your NDIS goals are included in your NDIS plan and are generally based on discussions with your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) during your planning meeting or review. The goals in your Plan might look slightly different to what you might normally set as a goal for yourself, so being prepared by having a solid idea of what your goals might be well before those meetings is the way to go.
That’s the purpose of this article – to give you some guidance on setting appropriate goals that will give you the most choice and control possible when it comes to accessing supports.
The most important part of a goal is that it gives you something to work toward and thus, the ability to lay out a bit of a pathway to achieving it. In general terms, that’s how the NDIS assess your goals and create funding categories that suit you. Your goals are what makes your NDIS Plan unique!
Here’s a suggestion of how to go about setting goals …
- Sit with someone who knows you well, with the intention of laying the “goal groundwork” – this can be helpful, as there may be some things you won’t think of on your own.
- Think about your lifestyle – what you enjoy and what you think could use some improvement. This will likely begin to show you some of the things you wish to achieve and will form the foundation of your final NDIS goals. For example:
A: I’d like to be play basketball as part of a team.
B: Improve my mobility so I can participate in team sport.
- Now you’ve got a list of things you like & those you wish to improve, think a little deeper to see what achieving them might look like. For example, if you like basketball, but you have trouble using your left hand, you might use A and B (above) to build out some goals that might help you achieve them. Write them down next.
For example these might be:
• Become more social (via participation in team sport)
• Increase my independence (so you can travel alone to your chosen sport)
• Improve my health and fitness (training for and playing team sport)
• Gain access to exercise equipment & facilities (that can help you improve at your chosen sport)
- As you can see you’re almost now broadening your goals to allow for more flexibility with the supports you might access when striving to achieve them. You’re already most of the way there, but by doing this, you will create more “NDIS friendly” outcomes (much like “I would like to increase my independence”) that will give you access to more supports than if your goals were specific (like, access physio for my left hand). For help at this stage, you should speak with your Support Coordinator or LAC about distilling your goals a little further.
Lastly, here are some tips on what makes a “good” NDIS goal.
It should be …
- Focussed on the Outcome. Using the examples above, don’t set your goal to be about “obtaining physio for my left hand”, that is more about the process of achieving the goal. Rather, make your goal “Improve my mobility for participation in team sport”, as this is more about the outcome.
- Personal. This is what your NDIS Plan is about after all – you! Your goals should reflect what you want to achieve. Make them 100% about you and improving your lifestyle.
- Capacity Building. Again, using the examples above, “Increase my independence” builds your capacity to be less reliant on others and allows you to be more a part of your community via participation in sport. “Increase my independence” is also not restrictive to your chosen team sport, it allows for a plethora of supports that will enhance your social engagement and participation, which are the foundations of the NDIS.
- Broad. The more general your goal, the more choice and control you’ll have with your supports once your NDIS Plan is funded. This is why we suggest you undertake step 4 above, it ultimately will give you flexibility with the use of your NDIS Plan funds.
- About things you wish to improve. This is important, as you can tell by step 2 above it creates the base for parts of your life and lifestyle you wish to improve. It’s important to make these relevant to your disability.
Setting appropriate goals and being prepared will ultimately help you get the most out of your NDIS Plan, giving you maximum choice and control, so set a goal to set good NDIS goals!
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