Your NDIS planning meeting is a meeting and discussion to understand how the NDIS can best serve you, so it’s important to come prepared!
There’s no need to stress, though–we’re here with all the best tips and tricks that’ll allow you to nail that meeting! In this article, we'll look at what a planning meeting is and how you can best prepare for it. Armed with this knowledge, we hope the whole process will feel a bit less daunting.
What Is An NDIS Planning Meeting?
Your NDIS meeting takes place after your initial approval for NDIS funding. It will be a discussion between you, a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) and any other support person you bring along.
A LAC doesn’t work for the NDIS directly–they are assigned to you from an independent organisation as the person to act on your behalf. Eventually, they will present your information to the NDIS so that the NDIS can formalise and approve your plan.
What Questions Will I Be Asked During My NDIS Planning Meeting?
Your NDIS planning meeting is a chance for your LAC to collect as much information as they possibly can about you: who you are, what makes you happy and fulfilled, how your daily life looks. This means you can expect to be asked a lot of questions.
Your LAC may ask about any therapy you currently receive, any special equipment you use, the support you currently receive and the community engagement you currently have. They will also ask questions that help formulate your all-important goals.
How Can I Prepare For My NDIS Planning Meeting?
There are three main ways you can prepare for your first NDIS planning meeting:
Collect all your official documents—this includes any referrals or reports that may support your requests for funding or showcase your needs. For example, a statement from your current care giver or a report from your physiotherapist. You may also wish to have all your personal details written down such as emergency contacts, postal address, etc. It might also help to make a list of any current support you receive and any specialised equipment you have access to.
Contemplate your circumstances—consider what you hope to get out of your NDIS funding. This is a less official preparation step, but some would say it’s more important. This preparation will gear you up for discussions around your goals, which are super important to your NDIS plan and form the foundations of your funding. Things to consider include your relationships, employment, education, personal interests and hobbies, struggles and triumphs, home life, things you love and things that cause you frustrations.
Understand the 3 ways to manage your NDIS funds, so you can then make a request for your preferred option.
NDIS Plan Goals
The Importance Of NDIS Plan Goals
When we’re talking about NDIS plan goals, we’re not talking about joining a sports team or breaking a world record! If you’re ambitious with your goal setting, that’s great! But it’s important to set goals that are realistic and empowering.
There are typically three ways to classify NDIS goals:
- Social goals, e.g. making friends or feeling more involved in your community;
- Physical goals, e.g. gaining new muscle strength or taking a new step in rehabilitation; and,
- Independence goals, e.g. handling your own finances or catching public transport unassisted.
Your LAC is likely to ask you to name 1-2 short-term goals and up to 5 medium or long-term goals: short-term goals refer to anything you hope to do within 12 months; medium to long-term goals mean anything that would take a little longer.
You may find that some goals start as short-term goals but build into something longer in the future.
Goal Setting For Your NDIS Plan
You should also spend time thinking about the various areas in your life when considering your goals.
Your relationships, health, work, creativity, independence and social life are just some of the factors to give thought to that may help shape them.
These goals aren’t set in stone and are likely to evolve over time. Some things that may inspire a change to your goals include:
Completing a course or university degree
A change in your condition
A change in your interests or personal feelings
New friends or employment
I'm Struggling To Come Up With Goals - What Can I Do?
If you’re struggling to come up with goals, try shifting your thinking: instead of asking yourself “What are my goals?”, try considering what makes you happy and what causes you frustration.
These are often easier questions to answer and will eventually lead you to a good list of goals as they highlight the things that could make a big difference to your life right now!
- Example: If not being able to prepare your own dinner at night frustrates you, then becoming more independent with meal preparation would be a great goal. There may be assistive technology or supports that can make this possible.
You don’t necessarily need to come up with the answers as to how you will achieve your goals specifically, as your LAC might have some ideas and advice. Your goals also don’t need to be very specific–they can be vague.
Tip - For example instead of noting down ‘make 6 friends’ you might like to put ‘feel more connected and social’. This keeps things achievable and satisfying.
Remember that funding is given specifically to help you achieve your goals, so this is an important part of the first NDIS planning meeting.
Checklist For NDIS Planning Meetings
The checklist below summarises everything we’ve covered in this article! If you can tick all these boxes, you’re well prepared and should have zero concerns about your first NDIS planning meeting.
A checklist of things to prepare and take to my NDIS first planning meeting:
- Prepare all my supporting documents including letters from doctors or specialists
- Write down some notes after considering my short term and long term goals. If this is difficult, just note down what makes me happy and what makes me frustrated
- Think about my daily life and how I would like it to improve
- Write a list of my current supports
- Write a list of any questions or concerns that I have
- Have all my personal details handy
- Speak to a support person about joining me for the meeting
- Find out about the different plan management options and have an idea of which I would prefer
- Look back at my original submission to the NDIS so that it’s fresh in my mind
Good news: your first NDIS planning meeting isn’t a test or an exam!
That means there are no secrets as to what the meeting is likely to entail and there’s no pass or fail. It’s essentially just a discussion to get to know how the NDIS can best serve you, so there’s no need to stress. But... preparation helps!
The more information you can give and the more you prepare, then the more likely it is your LAC will craft a plan that accurately represents your needs and life goals.