What are NDIS goals?
NDIS goals are like roadmaps that guide you towards what you want to achieve. Each goal is a statement of intention that provides a clear direction and purpose, helping you stay focused.
These goals give the NDIS information about what’s important to you and what you want to do in life. For an NDIS Plan to be approved, it must include at least one goal. Each goal should include details about the supports that will help you achieve the goal.
NDIS goals should be specific, measurable and usually time-bound which means you’re aiming to achieve each goal in a certain time, such as three months.
“Not having goals is like being at the helm of a boat without a rudder. There is nothing to guide us in the direction we want to go. Working towards a goal that we have thought through and set based on our passions and what we want to achieve is empowering.”
Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM, Leap in! Brand Ambassador.
Goals and your NDIS Plan.
Once your NDIS access request is accepted, you’ll begin to prepare for your first NDIS planning meeting. This is where the NDIS gathers information about you, your goals and any supports you receive to determine what to fund in your plan.
If you already have a plan, reviewing your goals and existing supports is a key part of preparing for your plan reassessment (when you get a new plan).
The better prepared you are going into your NDIS plan meeting or plan reassessment, the higher the chances you will get the right supports for your needs.
Services and supports included in your NDIS Plan may help you pursue your goals and overcome any barriers encountered along the way.
Goal setting for different stages of life.
The national early childhood approach (ECA) provides support to ensure children with developmental delay or disability get the best possible start in life. Early childhood partners (ECPs) are local organisations funded by the NDIS to deliver the early childhood approach.
An ECP understands the unique needs of the child and works with the family to set goals based on the child’s strengths and challenges This could include improving communication skills, enhancing social interactions or developing daily living abilities.
7 tips for setting your child’s NDIS goals.
- Start with small, achievable goals. Make targets manageable by breaking goals down into steps. This way the child and family can celebrate regular progress.
- Consider the child’s unique abilities, challenges and limitations. Focus on areas where they can make meaningful progress.
- Involve the child in goal setting. Encouraging their active participation can help them understand the purpose of goals and keep them interested.
- Have short and long-term goals in your child’s NDIS Plan. Short-term goals focus on immediate progress and skill building. Long-term goals define a broader vision for the child’s development.
- Collaborate with professionals. Seek input from therapists, teachers and early childhood partners.
- Track and monitor progress through observation, checklists or progress reports. This helps to identify areas that need adjustments or more support.
- See an ECP early. There are waiting lists for child therapy supports in many locations due to a shortage of qualified staff.
Top tip: Consider getting private assessments and diagnosis while receiving early childhood connections. Assessment reports are needed to submit an NDIS access request.
Setting goals during the school years is a powerful tool for supporting children with disability to thrive academically, socially and emotionally.
By working together on your child’s NDIS goals, parents and children can create a roadmap for your child’s life that fosters growth, builds confidence and maximises their potential.
NDIS supports for school-aged children.
For children who have transitioned to the NDIS, it’s helpful to have a clear understanding of relevant NDIS funding supports to align with goals.
- Therapy supports: Includes speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and behaviour support.
- Transport: Specialised transport required because of a student’s disability.
- Teacher training: Specialised training for teachers and other staff about the specific personal support needs of a student with disability.
- Specialised equipment and aids: Funding for assistive technology devices and equipment tailored to the specific needs of the child.
- Social and community participation: Supports and activities that promote social and community participation, help children make friends and enhance wellbeing.
- Capacity building: Programs and activities to help the child learn new skills and become more independent.
- Personal care: Assistance with everyday activities, dressing, grooming, toileting and overnight care. Additional self-care at school related to the student’s disability.
- Respite care: Overnight or short-term care offering temporary relief for caregivers and giving your child a change of scenery or opportunity to learn skills in a different environment.
For more details, see Can the NDIS help my child at school?
Goal setting tips for school-aged children.
- Focus on strengths and interests and align goals accordingly.
- Prioritise functional goals that will have a practical impact on the child’s daily life and education.
- Foster a supportive environment that emphasises effort, growth and resilience rather than focusing solely on outcomes.
- Work collaboratively with teachers and therapists to set suitable goals in their NDIS Plan.
- Encourage the child to express their needs, preferences and goals. Include self-advocacy as a goal to improve independence and confidence.
- Consider long-term goals, especially once immediate support needs are met.
Goal setting during this time can also assist with transition preparedness, such as moving to a new grade, changing schools or moving house.
For teenagers and young adults with disabilities, the NDIS goal-setting focus shifts towards preparing for adulthood, independence and a successful transition into post-school life.
There’s so much to think about at this time of life. Setting goals allows young people to have a sense of control over their lives and their future.
NDIS funded supports for teens, tweens and young adults.
There are some supports that may be relevant to consider for teenagers and young people when setting their NDIS goals.
- Developing independent living skills. Goals may focus on skills such as cooking, personal care, managing finances and travelling independently.
- Building vocational skills. Goals may involve vocational training, internships or work experience for a smoother transition to employment.
- Accessing further education: Goals can include researching and applying for higher education or other courses, and developing study skills.
- Community participation and social skills: Goals might involve joining local clubs or groups, developing social networks and participating in recreational activities.
NDIS capacity building supports may also fund things like developing self-advocacy skills, communication training and mentoring to build confidence and independence.
Goal setting tips for teenagers and young adults.
As a young person, it’s important you have the opportunity to actively participate in shaping your own path and have a say in your educational journey. This can enhance both self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Set realistic and meaningful goals that are challenging yet achievable to help you stay motivated.
- Include long-term goals to build planning and decision making skills.
- Align goals with major milestones and transitions such as education, training, employment and independent living.
- Reflect on your achievements to reveal areas where you may want to improve or develop a new skill.
- Identify strengths and how you can use those to overcome barriers or weaknesses to work towards your goals.
- Refine and adapt your goals as circumstances, priorities or aspirations change.
- Learn from past experiences – reflect on what worked well and apply those lessons to set new goals more effectively.
This stage of life involves a lot of change. You may be planning to go from high school to further study or to work. Or you may be currently studying and preparing to enter the workforce for the first time.
Being aware of how the NDIS can assist means you can set goals knowing what support may be available.
NDIS study supports.
Most study supports will come from service providers such as schools, universities and TAFE colleges. The NDIS will only fund supports that are not funded through other programs or services. This may include extra supports you need because of disability or personal care while studying.
Here are some tips for getting your study-related goals funded:
- Include a study-related goal in your NDIS Plan
- Be prepared to talk about your school, university or training provider and any support they give you at your NDIS plan meeting
- Think about additional supports you might need
- Gather together school reports or related assessments
- Get a letter from your place of study outlining any additional disability-related needs.
Going from school or further education to work.
The following general tips can help you start planning for the transition to further education or work while setting your NDIS goals.
- Explore your interests
- Research different career options
- Reflect on your strengths and skills
- Identify potential barriers
- Talk to mentors and teachers
- Research inclusive employers
- Gain some practical experience.
Example NDIS goal and action steps.
Goal: In the next six months, I will actively explore activities, clubs and hobbies that align with my interests. By doing so, I aim to find potential career paths that resonate with my curiosity and passions.
- Research and identify three activities, clubs or hobbies that align with my interests. Attend introductory sessions.
- Actively participate in the activities for at least one month each. Reflect on the aspects of each activity/club that resonate with me the most.
- Work with a career advisor to evaluate how these experiences align with my goals and aspirations.
- Identify two possible career options for further research and organise work experience at each for one week.
See School Leaver Employment Supports for details.
Home and living goals encompass a range of areas related to living arrangements and daily life, including where you live and who you live with, getting around safely at home and day-to-day living.
Setting and achieving home and living goals provides a path for shaping your home environment to meet your needs, be more independent and live the life you want to lead.
Types of goals related to home and living.
Personal care: Goals related to your ability to manage tasks such as bathing, dressing, grooming and eating.
Mobility-related: Goals related to how you move around and navigate the environment with independence.
Your living environment: Covers improving your ability to manage household tasks independently, including cooking, cleaning, laundry and maintaining a safe and accessible living environment.
Where you live and who you live with: Goals may include moving out of the family home, moving in with a flatmate or partner or living on your own.
Financial management. This may include developing skills in budgeting, banking and paying bills
NDIS home and living funding.
If your goal is to live more independently in a home of your NDIS Individualised Living Options may be able to help. ILOs are designed to support people on the NDIS living in a range of situations, like your own home, social housing or a rental property. You may want to live alone, with family, friends or other people with NDIS Plans.
Supported Independent Living is another related type of NDIS funding. SIL may be ideal for an NDIS participant who requires extensive supports to live independently, such as 24/7 personal care, assistance with daily tasks and help to get around. They are commonly funded in shared living environments, with supports shared among residents.
Getting out in the community and making friends is an important part of life. Achieving goals related to being active in society can help create a sense of belonging and connection.
Participating in social activities, neighbourhood groups, sporting groups or the arts is also a great way to learn skills and build confidence.
Types of goals related to social and community participation.
You’ve probably noticed that goals can overlap. For example, social and community activities can be connected to a lot of different goals. Sports activities are a good example. They can help you progress on many goals such as making friends, being more active in the community, building confidence, improving mobility and becoming stronger. You get the idea!
The NDIS has a dedicated funding category for Assistance with Social and Community Participation. It can fund things like support to attend community-based activities and assistance to participate in social groups.
Below are some examples of types of things that this funding category may support.
- Making new friends, meeting new people or expanding your social network
- Learning new things such as through workshops or classes
- Getting fit or trying a new sport which can also help you achieve health related goals
- Arts and cultural experiences such as music lessons, events or festivals
- Advocacy and leadership, such as public speaking skills.
What the NDIS may cover
- Short-term support to build skills to help you participate independently
- Someone to assist with things like finding the right clothes to wear, getting changed or setting you up to join the activity
- Transport to and from the activity if your family can’t provide it and you can’t use public transport independently
- Personal care while you attend an activity, such as assistance to use the bathroom
- Assistive technology, special equipment or equipment modifications to help you participate (eg. a customised bike)
- Training for instructors or coaches to help them understand your needs.
There are many steps on the journey to achieving your career goals. NDIS employment supports cover the entire journey, from preparing for work to getting help on the job to making your next career move.
Why set work-related goals?
- To empower you to make career changes
- Give you a sense of purpose and direction
- Build self-esteem
- Expand your skills, knowledge and expertise
- Motivate you to grow, develop and overcome any barriers you face along the way
- Provide structure for seeking NDIS employment support.
NDIS Workplace assistance.
Workplace assistance is a support designed to build a career pathway and fulfil your career employment goals. It may be used in an open employment setting or with an Australian disability enterprise (ADE).
NDIS Supports in employment – Specialised supported employment.
Supports in employment are designed for employed people on the NDIS who are less independent in performing work tasks. They can also be used to fund additional coaching in the workplace, such as help to stay focused, assistance with communication or job customisation.
NDIS Employment-related assessment and counselling.
Employment-related assessment and counselling sits under the Capacity Building budget in an NDIS Plan. It’s designed to fund services that assist you to successfully engage in employment. For example, helping people who need significant support to return to work after a traumatic injury.
For more details about how the NDIS can help you achieve your employment goals, read NDIS Employment supports: all you need to know.
Get your Free goals ebook!
Leap in! is excited to launch our latest free ebook designed to help you set and achieve your NDIS goals.
The new ebook, Understanding goals and achieving outcomes with the NDIS: A practical guide for success answers all your goal related questions. We hope you find it helpful.