Plans, Goals and Outcomes
Planning for achievement
Planning is an important part of what we do at Plumtree. We know from experience that the time parents spend thinking, talking and making plans can have a positive impact on outcomes for children. Why? Because plans help us to stay alert to all the many opportunities for learning, throughout the day. This is why we call our Therapy and Keyworker program ‘Plan and Do’. On this page we look at some of the different aspects of planning.
Your vision is the way you would like life to be in the future, for your child, your family and yourself. Having a vision helps to ensure that your plans are truly yours and that they take into account the big picture. Your vision will remind you what is most important to you, so that you can put your energy and resources where they count the most. At Plumtree, families can explore their vision in an enjoyable, visual and creative way through Pictability – get in touch if you would like more information.
Goals are statements of what you are aiming for. When we are planning, we talk about long term goals and short term goals. These have different purposes.
Long term goals give us direction over a longer period of time. For example, the goals you set with your NDIS planner will be for a period of twelve months. Short term goals set out the steps we need to take to reach our long term goals.
Your short term goals should be achievable in one to two months. When you achieve them, you can set more short term goals, building up step by step until you reach your long term goal. Short term goals are very specific and tell us exactly what we are looking for. They are an important part of deciding what action we will take to get things happening. They help us to measure progress and decide whether we are on the right track.
Outcomes are the results of what we do. When we achieve a goal that is a great outcome – something to celebrate. Sometimes we find that we have achieved things that we hadn’t really planned for, and this can be super exciting! The NDIS places great value on outcomes, because it wants to see people getting results from the work they put in. The NDIS identifies some broad outcomes for children, as follows:
NDIS Outcomes for children birth to six years
- Children gain functional, developmental and coping skills that are appropriate to their ability and
- Children show evidence of self-determination in their everyday lives
- Children participate meaningfully in family life
- Children participate meaningfully in community life
- Specialist services assist children to be included in families and communities.
NDIS Outcomes for school aged children
- Children grow in independence
- Children are welcomed and educated in their local schools
- Children form friendships with peers and have positive relationships with their families
- Children participate in local social and recreational activities
- Specialist services assist children to be included in families and communities.
How do we know if we are on the right track? Evaluation is an important part of how we work with you at Plumtree. Together we pause from time to time, to look at how things are going. We acknowledge what’s going well, and when things are not going so well. We discuss this in a constructive way, problem solving together as a team. A few minutes spent evaluating at the end of a session can make all the difference to what happens next and help you feel that we are working on things which are important to you.
I want my child to communicate
Better communication is an outcome that most families want when they come to Plumtree. We work with you to choose the communication goals that will make the most difference for your child.
Communication is a very complex skill with many aspects. Research tells us that children learn to communicate when they have lots of practice during everyday life, during interactions with people who pay attention to them and respond in a positive way. Daily routines are great times to build in communication opportunities. We know that it’s parents who can make the difference when a child has a language delay, by adding some simple but important techniques to the things that they already do. For this reason, much of our work emphasises parent training – giving you the skills to help your child’s communication.
I want my child to have better social skills
Social skills are closely related to communication – it’s harder to be social unless we have some way to communicate with others. But even people who can talk very well can struggle socially.
Good social skills involves some extra abilities, which include:
- Being calm when other people are around – some children feel overwhelmed and anxious in social settings
- Having an interest in what other people do or say
- Understanding that other people have a point of view which might be different to your own
- Reading people’s non-verbal cues, such as body language and tone of voice
- Being able to wait your turn, and pass the turn on to someone else
- Knowing what to do when a conversation gets stuck or breaks down – for example, when someone misunderstands what you say
- Understanding sarcasm
- Knowing how to start and stop a conversation
At Plumtree, we create opportunities for children to learn social skills in social settings. Some of the ways we do this are:
- Individual sessions which focus on practicing the foundations of social interaction with a child’s first and foremost social partners – his immediate family
- Sessions with a therapist or teacher in your child’s natural social settings, such as preschool or school. These individual sessions are provided through our Plan and Do program
- A range of free, drop-in Playgroups for children six and under
- Social skills groups with up to four children who have compatible goals, including Music Together, Splash Together, Lego Social Skills Groups and the Secret Agent Society Social Skills Groups
I want my child to have better movement skills
You will want your child’s movement to be as good as it can possibly be. Movement is critical for good health, allowing children to develop muscular strength, balance, strong bones, stable joints and good lung capacity. Movement also underpins many aspects of a young child’s learning – it helps him explore, experience the world through his senses, experiment, take risks, socialise, understand his own abilities and much more. For most children, a parent’s main job is to keep children safe as they master new movement skills. Children get all the exercise they need through play, especially outdoor play with plenty of space and fresh air.
Many children who have a disability, or who are delayed in their development, experience challenges with their movement. For these children, quality of movement is just as important as it is to any child. For a child with a physical disability, every new motor skill opens up new possibilities for learning and development in other areas, such as communication, social interaction and cognition. A child may be quite active but still have challenges with balance, coordination or motor planning that may make it hard to join in play with peers.
If your child has challenges with movement, you may choose to have some individual sessions with a physiotherapist. You can work with a physiotherapist through your Plan and Do program. Your physiotherapist can help you to plan for quality of movement in many aspects of your everyday life.
If your child needs help to find good positions for floor play, or the right kind of seating for mealtimes or table play, an occupational therapist (OT) might work alongside your physiotherapist.
In everything they do, your therapists will aim to maximise your child’s freedom of movement and enjoyment of physical play.
If your child is not yet walking, you are very welcome to come along to Explorers Play – a ‘drop in’ playgroup which is free for families in 2017.
I want my child to be more independent
Independence is an outcome which is important throughout childhood, beginning in infancy. Children learn to develop independence in many areas, of which the following are just a few:
- Getting to sleep
- Recovering when hurt or upset
- Coping when something goes wrong
- Separating from parents to go to childcare or school
- Oral hygiene
- Undressing and dressing
- Taking care of own possessions
- Following the routines of the day
You can work on any of these areas, and more, in your sessions with your Plumtree therapist or teacher. We can work with you in your home to look at how to maximise independence as part of everyday life. Daily routines are great opportunities to build your child’s independence. Preschool, school and group programs also provide great opportunities for learning.
You will often hear the advice “Give her time to do it by herself”. This is easy to say, but often hard to do. It takes much longer for children to do things without your help, and the result might not be as good. Children can become frustrated when they can’t get things right, or may even refuse to try. Your Plumtree therapist or teacher can help you problem solve around these challenges, so that you are giving your child time in targeted ways, starting small and building gradually.
Sometimes you might need the expertise of a few different professionals to help with developing independence. For example, independent eating might involve a Speech Pathologist to look at chewing and swallowing and an OT to look at positioning, how to use a spoon and/or sensory responses to food. Often, one therapist will take the lead and act as your Keyworker, and the other will get involved as needed.
Inclusion in Family and Community Life