What are NDIS goals?
Your child’s NDIS goals are the things you want your child to work towards with support from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and other supports and services.
Your child’s goals might include things like:
- ‘Jenny and Simon would like Charlie to be able to tell people when he needs or wants something.’
- ‘Jordan wants to be able to get to gymnastics classes once a week by themselves.’
- ‘Dimitra wants to develop social skills so that she can take part in a local soccer team.’
Your child’s goals are an important part of your child’s NDIS plan. They help your child, family and NDIS providers know what’s important to you and what success might look like. Setting goals is a key part of the NDIS planning process.
When to start thinking about NDIS goals
It’s best to start thinking about your child’s goals when an NDIS representative contacts you to arrange your planning conversation.
This way, you’ll be well prepared to discuss and decide on your child’s goals when it’s time for the NDIS planning conversation.
How to get started with NDIS goals
When you’re thinking about your child’s NDIS goals, start with what you know about your child’s daily life. For example, if your child needs more help to get dressed than other children the same age, a goal might be to get dressed with less or no support.
It’s also important to think about your child’s likes and interests. For example, if your child likes playing board games but has trouble sharing, a goal might be to play a board game with another child for a short period of time.
You can also think about what success might look like for your family. If your child achieved their goal, how would this affect your family as a whole?
And it’s a good idea to think about what would make it easier for you to care for your child and support your child’s development. For example, you’d like it to be easier to get your child in and out of bed or the bath.
As you develop your child’s goals, it can help to think about the following questions: what does your child want to work towards? Why does your child want to work towards this? When does your child want to achieve this by?
Short-term NDIS goals
You can include short-term goals in your child’s NDIS plan. These are the things you and your child want to work towards during the plan.
Short-term goals can be very specific. When you look at your child’s progress after 12 months, it’s easy to see whether your child is achieving or has achieved short-term goals. Short-term goals give you a good idea of how well your child’s plan is working.
For example, a short-term goal might be for your child to hold a spoon by themselves.
Long-term NDIS goals
You can also include medium-term and long-term goals in your child’s NDIS plan. These are the hopes you and your child have for their future, like successfully starting high school, getting a job or doing further education.
You can break down long-term goals into the steps your child will take to achieve them. For example, your child’s long-term goal might be to make friends more easily. Steps towards this goal might be your child being able to take turns or ask questions.
Long-term goals can be quite flexible. This means that there are many ways your child could achieve them. For example, your child’s long-term goal might be to stay home alone without a carer when they’re in their teens. Your child could move towards this goal in many ways – for example, by being able to move around the house independently, use a phone, manage anxiety and so on.
For children younger than 7 years, goals aren’t formally separated into short-term and long-term goals. Instead, your child will work towards their goals in order of importance. But it’s still good to think about your child’s goals as short term and long term. It’s also good to include a mix of short-term and long-term goals in your child’s plan. This gives you a clear sense of what you want for your child, as well as some flexibility in how you get there.
Supports and NDIS goals
Your child’s NDIS plan will include funding to support your child’s progress towards some or all of their goals. All of the NDIS-funded supports in your child’s plan must be related to your child’s goals.
So as you’re thinking about your child’s goals, it’s important to think about what supports can help your child work towards these goals. The supports might come from the NDIS. They might also include supports that aren’t funded by the NDIS, like supports from you, your family and community services. For example:
- If your child’s goal is to feed themselves, you could ask for funding for physiotherapy or occupational therapy to help your child build this skill.
- If your child’s goal is to make more friends, you could ask for funding for a psychologist to help your child develop social skills, plus a referral to a local playgroup.
- If your child’s goal is to regularly attend appointments or other activities and your child’s wheelchair won’t fit in your car, you could ask for funding for a slim-line chair or modifications to your car.
- If your child’s goal is to interact more easily with family and community, you could ask for funding for Auslan or Key Word Sign training.
- If your child’s goal is to be involved in the local community football team, your child might get NDIS funding for social skills development. And the football club could support your child to play or help out at games.
Who to involve in developing NDIS goals
Depending on your child’s age, you might be able to work on developing goals with your child.
You could start by asking your child what they like doing or what they’d like to do better, more easily or more often. Involving your child can give them a sense of control, boost their confidence and prepare them for setting their own goals as they get older.
Older children might also have ideas about what could help them reach their goals. For example, your teenage child might enjoy catching up with friends but might be having difficulties because of their disability. You could ask your child what could help with that. Your child might suggest help with understanding the bus route, asking for help from the driver using their communication device, or knowing who to call if they have difficulties.
There are probably people in your child’s life who know your child well, like your child’s early childhood educator, teacher, paediatrician, GP and so on. It’s a good idea to ask these people about goals. Or your child might get support from a therapist or other disability professional.
And your child’s early childhood partner, local area coordinator or NDIA planner might help you with goals in your NDIS planning conversation.
The disability services system can feel confusing at first. You could ask your child’s early childhood partner, local area coordinator or NDIA planner for help to finalise your child’s goals and decide on the best supports for your child.