Help Writing Goals for an Autism NDIS Plan | MyCareSpace

Help Writing Goals for an NDIS Plan

a line with 3 coloured wooden pegs hanging on it. Each peg holds a piece of card with a word on it. The words are set, your and goals

What are these NDIS Goals and how do I set them?

Once you have been accepted into the NDIS scheme, you will attend a planning meeting with an NDIS representative called a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or an NDIS Planner (for more complex plans).

The LAC will ask you to provide goals (both short term and long term) that you might need NDIS funding to achieve.

What are your goals?

Goals are things you want to achieve with support from the NDIS and other supports and services. Examples may include: becoming more independent, getting a job, learning new skills, making friends etc. 

Goals should focus on an outcome, rather than about the services needed to achieve the outcome. For example, if an NDIS participant attends a day program, the goal might be “To spend more time in my local community and develop skills so that I can be more independent”, not “To attend my day program.” 

Every dollar in an NDIS plan needs to be used in a way that links to a goal written in the plan. For example, if you want support to get a job, you need to have it as a goal in the plan. That means that you need to write short-term goals in a way that ensures everything you need is covered in two goals.

Goals needs to be broad enough that you can make creative changes throughout the year and can use different types of services that would help achieve the goal.

We suggest that the easiest way for you to think about goals is to think about what’s important to you.

How many goals do I need?

The primary aim of your planning meeting is to understand what goals you would like to achieve and any disability-specific barriers that prevent you from pursuing these goals. The NDIA then looks at how the funds can be used towards supports that will address your disability support needs.

You should write 2 current goals and 2-4 long term goals

  • Short term – within the next 12 month plan
  • Long term – beyond the term of the next plan

There are some things to remember when setting goals:

  • Setting more and bigger goals doesn’t mean the NDIS will provide more funding.
  • Setting a goal doesn’t mean the NDIS will have an obligation to fund supports that help you pursue that goal.
  • Setting a goal about an explicit type or amount of support you might want doesn’t mean the NDIS will have an obligation to fund that support or in that amount.

How do I set goals that will get me the NDIS funding I need?

Often choosing a goal is the hardest part, when you just don’t know what you should be asking for or how to write it down. The goals will ultimately help determine what your funding looks like, and whilst having specific goals can help you get supports - this doesn't leave as much room for flexibility in the types of supports you can engage with.

Think about what's most important to you or your child and shape your goals around this.

Use this list to think about all the aspects of your life and what is really important to you. It may be:

  • finding and keeping a job
  • improving relationships
  • independence in daily living
  • confidence in money management
  • doing more social and recreational activities
  • improved health and wellbeing
  • building confidence around public transport or learning to drive
  • learning something new
  • where you want to live, or
  • improving communication and managing behaviours

Our top tips for setting goals:

  1. Focus on age-appropriate life skills - Think about the things children their age usually do. Does your child have any unmet needs compared to other typical children their age? For example, at 6 years of age this may be to go to the toilet or getting ready for school, at 18 years of age this could be to cook food for themselves or getting a job (building independence)
  2. Use NDIS buzz words - social participation, community integration, building independence, choice & control, reasonable & necessary, capacity building core/primary supports
  3. Keep them broad - it's less about choosing the supports/services, but about choosing a broader goal that will allow you to choose from many services to reach them.
  4. Discuss supports for parents/carers - keep this focused on your child i.e. ask for support that will help you support your child to develop skills and build age-appropriate skills such as parent and carer training/courses/therapies
  5. Focus on key areas the NDIS funds - social participation, employment, communication, self-care, learning.
  6. Ask others - ask your child's therapists, family members and parents with a child of similar age and disability if they are happy to share their goals. There are a number of great NDIS Facebook groups where parents are happy to share their goals.

How to write great goals

  1. Think about what is important to you. For example:
    • Trying new things
    • Making friends
    • Managing meltdowns
    • Expressing/talking about feeling and emotions
    • Getting a job
    • Taking care of themselves (being independent)
  2. Think about how you would achieve these things. For example:
    • Participating in community hubs/classes/courses
    • Integrating in social settings
    • Learning how to communicate and speak more clearly
    • Behaviour management
    • Gaining employment skills
    • Building strength and fine motor skills
  3. Now you need to Link 1 and 2 

Let's see this in action

1. Think about what’s important to you

  1. I like attending book group every week.
  2. I like participating in activities at my local Community Hub (meeting place).
  3. I want to improve how I communicate with other people
  4. I want to be independent.

2. Then work out your goals

My goals:

  1. To increase my ability to access the community for social activities.
  2. To be involved in the community and engage with others.
  3. To improve my ability to speak clearly.
  4. To get and keep a job.

3. I need:

  1. A Disability Support Worker to get me to the Community Hub (meeting place) and book group or 
  2. Help from a Speech Pathologist to improve my communication
  3. Help building my confidence, managing my anxiety or learning to travel on my own.
  4. Help finding a job.

Examples of goals

  • I want my child to engage in more social and community groups so they can try new things.

  • Zoe wants to build her social & communication so she can build and maintain age-appropriate relationships

  • I want to learn how to manage my behaviours and understand my emotions so I can express myself better.
  • Jack wants to build his communication & employment skills so he can get a job
  • I want my child to build their fine motor and communication skills so they can be more independent

Examples of the supports do these relate to?

  • Improve Communication - Speech Pathologist, Psychologist, Counsellor, Animal/Art/Music therapist,
  • Community Participation - Community Hub (meeting place), Skill groups/clubs/camps
  • Social Integration - Social groups, Support Workers, Clubs/Camps
  • Manage behaviours and emotions - Psychologist, Counsellor, Animal Therapy, Occupational Therapist Music or art therapists
  • Build fine motor skills - Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist
  • Build independence - Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Support Worker, Community & Social Activities


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