Frequently asked questions

How will planning be useful to us as a family?

For many disabled people and their families, life is focused on day-to-day living. It can feel like there just isn’t the right time to think about and plan for the future.

Some people may have a plan in their head, but can get stuck at times in their life, such as leaving school, going to university, entering work or leaving home.

No matter your situation, the creation of a clear, documented plan can help you get from where you are, to where you want to be.

ImagineBetter can facilitate planning that will encourage you and your family to look ahead, dream big and imagine the best possible life for you.

The planning process often involves gathering a group of supportive and like-minded people to think about where you would like to be in the future. Hearing other people talk about you in a positive way can be very empowering. These people can often become involved with making your plan a reality and may be the start of a lifelong support network.

I’m not sure what I want to do in the future. Will a plan help with this?

The planning tools that we recommend have been designed to help people work out where they want to go and how they will get there.

ImagineBetter’s facilitators will encourage you to think creatively and positively about the future. They will guide the discussion during your planning meeting and can also offer ideas and expert knowledge about the disability sector and communities.

At what point in a person’s life is it best to plan?

Planning is an ongoing process, not a one-off event.

It is never too early to create a positive plan. It can be particularly helpful to plan if you are feeling stuck or overwhelmed.

Plans need to be regularly reviewed as people’s lives develop. Big changes such as school, moving out of home or life after your parents, are all important milestones to plan for.

Can I make a plan for myself or my loved one without trained facilitators?

Talking about the life you want with family and friends can be very useful.

However, to receive the full benefits of your planning time, it is best to work with experienced planning facilitators. They will be able to support you and those in your life with the process of planning. They will encourage you to dream big and think of a wide range of possibilities, not just those that seem obvious or easy to achieve.

Facilitators can also offer ideas and bring experience with them that will add to the collective knowledge of the group

What if I feel isolated and don’t have a network to help with my plan?

The process of planning can help you increase your connections.

Planning is often the catalyst for change. The planning tools used by ImagineBetter have successfully assisted many people to look beyond their current situation and create a vision for the life they want.

Each planning tool looks at who needs to be involved to ensure the plan is successful. Part of your plan may be connecting with like-minded people or organisations to achieve your goals. These people can become the start of your personal network

I currently receive all my support from the formal service system. How can planning help me and my family?

The disability support services system can be constrained by contracts, pricing, eligibility criteria, support staff availability and policies. Planning does not focus on what the service sector has to offer. It looks at opening up new possibilities within a person’s community, based on their interests and goals.

The planning tools we use at ImagineBetter begin with the disabled person at the centre. We bring people together to brainstorm new ideas and contacts. This can lead to new opportunities.

Planning can be used to refocus everyone involved in a person’s life and create the right environment for positive change.

We feel nervous about asking people to come to our planning meeting. What if we invite people and they don’t want to come?

It’s not unusual to feel nervous about asking people for their help and their time, however the usual response from those asked to take part in planning is YES.

ImagineBetter can assist you to identify who you want to ask and how best to ask them. An invitation is all most people need. Most are very thankful for the opportunity to be involved.

How long will a planning meeting take and when is a good time to have one?

Developing an in-depth plan takes time. The length of time will differ depending on who is taking part and how much preparation has been done. Generally a plan will take between three and five hours to develop with a facilitator.

The best time will depend on the members of the group. Some people will find a week day more convenient, while others will prefer a weekend or evenings.

ImagineBetter can help you prepare for your planning meeting, including setting the location, time and who you might invite to support your thinking.

One suggestion is that you make a list of the key people you would like to attend and get an idea of their availability before settling on a date and time.

What is needed for a planning meeting?

Your planning facilitators will discuss what you need to organise for your planning meeting. Once a day, time and venue have been arranged, it’s a good idea to organise food and drink. You might ask some of the people attending to bring a plate of food to share.

Our son / daughter doesn’t like to sit still for hours, perhaps it would be better if they didn’t attend?

Even if it is only for a short time, it is very powerful for the person to be present at their planning meeting. Planning centres on the person and nothing focuses the group as well as having them present.

Some of the planning tools used at ImagineBetter involve graphic recording to capture the ideas on the day. A large sheet of paper is used and pictures are drawn as the plan develops. It is not uncommon for people, who would otherwise have little interest in sitting still, to become engaged with the process.

The planning meeting can also be set up to allow the person to come and go as they need. This allows maximum participation, while at the same time honouring how they like to work.

How can I organise my own planning?

There are many wonderful free and low-cost planning resources available.

One of these is our ImagineBetter Lives Inclusion planning pack, which will assist you to identify opportunities in your community.

You can also find out about planning through your local NASC, Disability Resource Centre, CCS Disability Action, Parent to Parent or other local organisations. You may even discover there are planning facilitators within your community.

If you would like assistance to plan, you can contact ImagineBetter to talk about the planning tools we offer. We can facilitate planning meetings throughout New Zealand and produce both visual and written plans.