People with developmental disabilities can thrive when they work toward specific milestones, such as individual support plan goals. Prepare for a productive year by developing an individual support plan for each client in your care.
Developmental disabilities affect people in unique and sometimes unpredictable ways. The same diagnosis may look very different from one person to the next, so creating individual support plan goals is essential for those with developmental disabilities. That is why it is important for caregivers to understand and accommodate each specific client’s needs. While each patient needs a unique individual support plan, the basic elements are the same for both children and adults with developmental disabilities. Follow these four best practices to create new support plans for the year ahead.
1. Review previous individual support plan goals
Goals are the backbone of any support plan, so this is a good place to start. Take stock of the individual’s previous goals to develop a new series of specific goals; these could include developmental milestones to be reached within the next year, and can be as simple as “participate in more social activities” or “learn to tie shoes.” If your client has a guardian, you can develop the individual support plan alongside them.
2. Encourage participation from your client and their family
It is your responsibility to advocate for and honor your client’s rights, including their right to direct their care for the year ahead. It is important to seek feedback while developing individual support plan goals, both from the individual and from anyone who supports them. Work with a “team” that includes you, other caregivers, family members, and loved ones or authority figures who have relationships with the individual. This makes it easier to assess their progress and make sure they are receiving positive support that adheres to your individual support plan, even when you are not with them.
3. Always put their basic wellbeing first
The most important goals in your individual support plan will promote quality of life for your client, including hygiene, health, safety, and economic security. As the year goes on, you can adjust your plans and goals to reflect your client’s changing needs and desires. However, you should always refocus your basic goals to make sure that they are promoting personal safety and security, whether that means keeping a clean room and winterizing their wardrobe, or finding employment and budgeting funds correctly.
4. Remember to prioritize relationship-building
As you work toward certain developmental milestones and help your client improve their quality of life, do not forget to focus on their relationships. These might include professional relationships, close family relationships with parents or guardians, friendships with neighbors, and other connections that make up your client’s personal support community. These connections are crucial in helping an individual to thrive, so it is important to encourage a sense of belonging and listen to concerns about interpersonal or environmental changes.
If you would like some help developing an individual support plan, contact Integrity, Inc. today at (501) 406-0442. You can also download our services brochure just to learn more about how we work to help people with developmental disabilities live more independent and productive lives.