Why getting feedback on your NDIS pre-plan is crucial to its success
If you live in Queensland, chances are the NDIS is rolling out near you soon and you’re starting to pre-plan for the NDIS, or prepare for your plan review and your second plan.
If you or your child is currently receiving support from a service provider, they may have initiated a conversation about your pre-plan or review, or you might still be new to the idea of disability support. Either way, it’s helpful to understand how to make the most of your NDIS pre-planning conversations so you can design a plan that supports you, with exactly what you need, the way you want it to.
So how to do avoid plan disappointment? Let’s start at the beginning.
What is NDIS pre-planning?
Your plan is your road-map to success within the NDIS. It maps out the steps you want to take to achieve your goals and the support you need to progress on your support journey.
Pre-planning is the process of gathering all the information you need to create your plan. You will submit your plan for approval with the NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency – the agency that manages the NDIS), and this is what they will base their funding decisions on.
Your NDIS Pathway will look like this:
1. Understanding the NDIS and how it will help you so you can make informed choices about how you plan, coordinate and manage your support
2. Checking your eligibility for the NDIS
3. Begin pre-planning by documenting and collating information about your support needs, what your life looks like now and what you want it to look like (and what goals you want to achieve).
4. You'll decide how you want your plan managed, and gather supporting documentation and reports to show evidence of your disability.
5. Meeting with the NDIA to create and submit your first plan for the NDIS
6. Starting your plan by seeking out the supports you need, and engaging them – on your terms
7. Conduct a Plan review – usually after 6, 12 or 18 months, but you can request one early if you are unhappy with your plan. These reviews enable you to update your progress and ensure you are getting the most from your allocated support funds
Knowing what your plan should look like is half the battle when you’re entering the NDIS. There are so many elements to understand, and if you have complex needs, it can be hard to show what supports make the biggest differences to your everyday life.
This is exactly why we built the NDIS Management app – First2Care. The NDIS is about choice and control, which means you are suddenly responsible for understanding the new support categories and allocated budgets. Not only that, you’re expected to be able to advocate for your rights in a way you have never had to in the old system.
Our hope is for First2Care, to be the NDIS pre-planning tool you turn to. We want it to be the guiding hand you need to help you through your pre-planning, plan coordination, support and expenses management, so you can navigate your pathway with confidence.
In your pre-plan, you should be looking at your life as it is now, and starting to identify what goals you have for the future. The planning template inside First2Care guides you so you won’t miss anything out. It asks you to start thinking about:
1. Who is helping you with pre-planning
2. What regular activities you’re involved in
3. What occasional activities you’re involved in
4. What is life like for you now
5. What your living arrangements are
6. What important relationships to do you have
7. What support you have
8. What aids and equipment do you have or need
9. What your goals are
10. A shared area for notes and documents to be uploaded
Each section populates straight into an NDIS compliant Planning Guide and Workbook for you to print for your final planning meeting.
Goals are an essential part of your plan, as I mentioned in this post on NDIS goals, you’ll also need to write down all your big dreams and aspirations – even if it feels too big to be included in your plan right now.
If you’re stuck and not sure how to include your goals, try asking yourself these questions:
a) What’s missing from your life?
b) What would you like to change?
c) What is stopping you from obtaining those missing things?
d) What would make a difference to you?
There is no limit to the number of goals you can include in your plan.
As a writer, I understand that when I’m writing something down, I’m constantly filtering the information in my brain so that my message comes out onto the page, clearly and concisely.
This natural filtering process means I may not see where I have not explained something properly – because my brain fills in the gaps for me. And in the same way, you’re also doing this too when you’re filling out your pre-planning booklet.
This means that even though you have written all possible ideas out onto the page, your brain fills in the gaps and you may not realise there are things you haven’t mentioned.
You’re too close to your plan and won’t know when you’ve missed something out. It’s completely normal. This is why you should share your pre-plan with everyone. They’ll be able to point out things you may have forgotten, or goals you may not have thought of.
You can share your First2Care pre-plan template with any of the important people in your life by sending them an invite to connect with you inside the app. And you get to control how much information they can see, and edit. You’ll remain in complete control.
Reports from service providers and medical professionals can be uploaded directly into the template, and you can discuss your options at length using the ‘shared notes’ feature.
Go to Connections to invite people in to view and help you pre-plan.Who should you involve in the pre-planning process?
The people you involve in your pre-planning should know you well or be able to give specialised information about your disability and care needs. By asking yourself some valuable questions, you can determine who can offer value to your pre-plan.
Who is important to you and understands your needs? Notice I didn’t just ask who was important to you? Typically, the best people to ask might be your parents, other siblings or close friends. That’s because these people will know you better than anyone else, and because they do, they’ll understand what you really need. Their feedback will be valuable and genuine.
Who is supporting you right now, and how? This might be an informal carer, such as a family member, or a formal carer such as a support worker who gives you in home or community support. These people will be able to provide great feedback on your support – especially in the ways they are currently helping you. If you have different supporters who help with different aspects of your life (such as in-home support or social support), ask them about each of those areas where they support you and to talk to each person if you can.
Are there medical professionals who understand your disability? Depending on your situation, your disability might come with some additional medical complications that impact your life. It’s best to discuss these with your doctor as they may have an impact on what you include in your plan. You may have a congenital disability that also means you have heart problems. Your doctor will be able to provide more information to the NDIA about how this is likely to impact on your life.
What community/support programs are you currently involved in? If you’ve been involved in any group or one on one activities, the support workers and facilitators will be able to help you think of goals to include in your plan. You might be attending an art workshop each week. Did you know you can include your goal of creating enough art to exhibit as part of their program if it fulfils a social or community participation need?
My brother’s pre-planning story: My autistic brother moved out almost 2 years ago and for the first time in his adult life, we saw him flourish and enjoy being independent. He has proven to us that, with support, he can achieve so many things. We have just been through our first plan review meeting after a successful first year with the NDIS.
During the pre-planning stages for my brother, we spoke to his service providers, his in-home support workers and his doctor. We shared these insights with my siblings and discussed them with my brother.
We’ve engaged with him about what goals he’d love to achieve, such as getting his Learner’s Permit. He’s already expressed a desire to learn to drive and has already studied all the road rules so he can take the written test. Even if he never gets there, as a family we are happy to see him shoot for the stars and support him to grow and be the happiest man he can be.
Alone, my Mum and my family only have part of the picture when it comes to my brother’s life. Because he is now an independent man, we need to stay in close contact with his carers and providers to get to know the bigger picture, to understand where his support can be intensified, and where he can carry on with less help. Alone, even my Mum, who knows more about him than anyone, might still leave something out.
It takes a village and all that… right?
It’s easy to see that involving other people in your pre-planning will help ensure you get the best results from your first NDIS plan. For more help on writing a goals-focused plan, you can read my previous post on goals, and keep an eye out for further information on our blog soon.
Read more about the benefits of working with a Plan Manager. Alternatively, register with our FREE NDIS Plan Management platform, so we can start helping you best manage your plan today.
Read more about First2Care’s plan management features.
Over to you
Have you started pre-planning for the NDIS? What tips do you have for designing a successful plan? We’d love to hear about it.