Now & Next is an online program for all parents, carers and grandparents of children who have a delay in their development or have a disability. Now & Next helps you to develop the skills to achieve positive outcomes for your child, your family and yourself.

As parents or carers, you will make the biggest difference in your child’s life. Now & Next gives you the practical skills to do this.

This 8-week evidence-based program, delivered via video conference during COVID19, will provide you with the tools to achieve positive outcomes for your child and your whole family. Our first session builds on the positive psychology principle of envisaging the future with hope. Participants engage in planning through our purpose-built Pictability kit, which they keep for future planning. Now and Next is an award-winning program facilitated by trained and knowledgeable parents who are Peer Workers. Peer Workers all have children with a disability or development delay like yourself – they have a lived, personal experience – who are trained and employed to support parents and families who face similar challenges. Every peer worker has graduated from the Now & Next Facilitator Training program.

The program we needed when our children were little.

As mothers of young men with disabilities, we developed Now and Next to give families hope for a future of possibilities for their children.

In Now and Next, we give families the tools to build on their strengths so that they understand what to do to help their child thrive and progress.

Sylvana Mahmic CEO Plumtree and Dr Annick Janson Research Director Plumtree Learning

Now & Next will help you to:

  • Identify a vision and set goals for your child, family and self through using our unique Pictability TM tool;
  • Use our Goal to Action strategy to achieve the goals you have for your child;
  • Identify your strengths and learn how to use them to achieve your goals;
  • Create positive relationships with professionals;
  • Increase your personal agency, well-being and family resilience
  • Connect with other families through the Now and Next Alumni where you can continue to build your knowledge.

Lay down the foundations for a positive future for your child.

Now and Next is:

  • Award winning and internationally recognised as a ground breaking program
  • Developed using the evidence on positive psychology, family leadership, gamification and family –centred practice
  • Run by trained and knowledgeable facilitators who are parents themselves
  • Being run across Australia and overseas
  • Based on principles of adult learning
  • Available to be run anywhere. Contact us to find out about bringing Now and Next to you.

Positive program impacts

Families who completed the Now & Next program and attended either the 2017 or 2018 Now & Next Family Conference provided some important feedback to us regarding their experiences. These statements help to guide the parent professional partnership we have developed.

Download Families leaning into partnerships with professionals and Parent professional partnerships


Frequently asked questions

All parents and carers of children with disability or delay, including extended families, will benefit greatly from the program.

Yes, all Carers are welcomed and valued. In the past, we have had mums, dads, foster parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents attend the course – representing the diverse nature of modern families.

Yes, your family will benefit from the Now&Next program, regardless of what stage of the journey you are at. Past families include those who don’t have a diagnosis yet, to those who may have had a diagnosis for a number of years. No matter what stage your family is at, you and your family will benefit greatly from Now&Next.

We really recommend that you attend all sessions so you receive the full benefit of the program. Ideas build upon each other over the weeks, so attending every session is ideal.

We understand that unexpected things do come up, such as children getting sick, and we will support families to catch up where possible.

If multiple sessions are being run in a term, you are most welcome to join another group for a make-up session.

Parents of children with disability and delay are super busy. We have more to do and think about, like therapy, specialist appointments, and researching (lots of researching). During Now & Next you will create a vision for your child, and set a clear path of priorities and goals. You will learn strategies and have access to tools to help you. By making the time to participate in Now&Next, you will feel more in control of your own, your family’s, and your child’s future.

We understand that your time is limited, which is why the main commitment is to the weekly sessions. There is no homework, except to work on goals.

As parents, we want to do the best for our children, especially when early intervention is so important, and there is a time pressure to do all that we can in these early years.

The research shows us that prioritising your own needs, health and wellbeing, mean you are better able to care for your child. During Now&Next we will investigate finding a balance, and how to make time for yourself, that isn’t detrimental to your child’s needs.

During Now&Next, you will meet parents like you, who are going on a similar journey. Your Now&Next facilitators are parents of a child with disability or delay, who also understand what you are experiencing. You will share stories, share strategies, and you will learn from each other. Some families like to share a lot about their experience while others prefer to listen more. It’s up to you how much you share in the sessions.

You are not alone! In the early days, as diagnosis are investigated, we are plunged into the ‘medical’ and ‘deficit’ model, and ‘worst case scenario’, when professionals may focus on what our child can’t do, and don’t always recognise the natural authority of parents.

During Now&Next, we investigate how to achieve the best life for our children. Whilst we acknowledge the challenges, we turn our focus to the positives and the possibilities. We recognise the strengths of our children, their talents, and what they are can do.

You will learn strategies to create a more even playing field with professionals, and how to achieve better outcomes for your child as a result. You will look at how to work closely with your team of therapists, and maximise value from the hourly therapy sessions you and your child attend. You will develop strategies around working with professionals, and recognise that families are the ones who make the biggest difference in their children’s lives. We look at the different ways we can support our children to reach their goals and milestones.

Yes, you can…and we encourage both partners to attend, where they can.

Caring for a child with a disability or delay, can put a lot of strain on relationships. The bad news is that the statistics are against us. The rate of separation and divorce is much higher amongst our families. The good news is that in Now&Next you will learn strategies which will strengthen your relationship and partnership in parenting. When families thrive, children thrive. You will create and celebrate family goals. You will create memories, and a new trajectory to travel together, as a family.

You could also choose to attend the program with a close family member, or a friend.

Absolutely! Whilst Now&Next includes some NDIS content, and will benefit planning or pre-planning preparation, the program is about so much more. The Now&Next focus extends beyond child therapy goals, to incorporate all-important aspects of your child’s life, your family’s security, and your own wellbeing.

Now&Next is based on adult learning principles. There are multiple activities and each session is very interactive – certainly not a lecture-style format.

Each Now&Next session follows a similar format, with different focus topics each week. Sessions include various individual and group activities, mini-talks, and video content.

Families keep in touch between sessions via a private Facebook page, which offers additional content and useful links, as well as an opportunity to connect with other parents, and share ideas or offer suggestions and support.

The program is free at this stage, due to funding and generous donations.

We try to provide childcare where we can, but this depends on location and times. Plumtree at Marrickville offer free childcare during Saturday programs at this stage. Please ask us if childcare is available in your area.

We have a fantastic team of Facilitators, who are themselves, parents of children with disability or delay. Their lived experience adds depth of knowledge and understanding – put simply, they ‘get it’. All Parent Facilitators come through a leadership pipeline which involves extensive training.

Get started with Plumtree

We make it easy for you to take the first step. Find out more about getting started with Plumtree.