Planning for achievement

Planning is an integral 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 parents, and those working with them – the ‘team around the child’- to stay alert to all the many opportunities for learning, throughout the day.

Planning is not a once-off activity but is something you can do regularly so that you are on track with what is important to your family and child. It can be easy to say ‘we have done a plan, now that’s finished, and we can get to work with action’. However, it is much more effective to see planning as an ongoing process that helps to keep everyone’s time and energy focused on the most important things that will make a difference.

There are different aspects of planning that can help you to keep focused on the big picture while working on the small steps towards getting there.


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. It will also guide you when you work with professionals so that you are more confident in your partnership with them and can get the best out of their expertise. 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 planning, you will develop both long-term goals and short-term goals. These have different purposes.

Long-term goals provide 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 – a long time in the life of a child.

Short-term goals set out the smaller steps you need to take to reach your 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 everyone involved exactly what you are looking for. They are an important part of deciding what action is needed to get things happening. They can help you and your team to measure progress and decide whether we are all on the right track.


Outcomes are the results of what you do. 

When you achieve a goal, that is a great outcome for all the hard work you have done– something to celebrate! Sometimes you may find that you have achieved positive things that you hadn’t really planned for, and these bonus outcomes can be super exciting!

In Australia, 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:

Outcomes for children birth to six years (adapted from the NDIS Outcomes Framework) 

  1. Children learn skills that support their development and help them to do everyday activities
  2. Children make choices in their everyday lives
  3. Children participate meaningfully in family life
  4. Children participate meaningfully in community life
  5. Specialist services assist children to be included in families and communities.

Outcomes for school-aged children (adapted from the NDIS Outcomes Framework) 

  1. Children grow in independence
  2. Children are welcomed and educated in their local schools
  3. Children form friendships with peers and have positive relationships with their families
  4. Children participate in local social and recreational activities
  5. Specialist services assist children to be included in families and communities.


How do you know if you are on the right track? Evaluation is an important part of the ongoing planning process, ensuring that everyone is working on what is important to you. Together with the professionals, you are working with, it is helpful to pause from time to time to look at how things are going. As a team, you can acknowledge what’s going well and, when things are not going so well, problem-solve this constructively together. A few minutes spent evaluating at the end of a session can make all the difference to what happens next.

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