Complex Support Needs Planning

This page contains two planning guides.

Living the life I want: A guide to help with planning has been developed with and for people with cognitive impairment and complex support needs to assist them to engage in making plans

Being a planner with a person with disability and complex support needs: Planning Resource Kit is intended to provide guidance for engaging a person with complex support needs in planning, created for workers in planning or related roles. 

NEW: Living the life I want: A guide to help with planning

The ‘Living the life I want: A guide to help with planning’ was developed with and for people with cognitive impairment and complex support needs to assist them to engage in making plans. The guide is designed to assist people to visualise and articulate their goals, and systematically work through the process of what is needed to achieve them.

The ‘Living the life I want: A guide to help with planning’ provides multiple, accessible ways for people with cognitive disability and complex support needs to engage with the content. Users are encouraged to try visually depicting their goals using the included body outlines, and/or can write their responses to guiding questions.

The guide includes a four-stage planning process:

Stage 1: Getting to Know Me

Stage 2: Thinking About My Goals

Stage 3: Making it Happen

Stage 4: Doing it; Thinking About it; Changing it

Each of these stages is depicted both visually and through accessible language. A case study example, based on composite real experiences of people with cognitive disability and CSN, is used throughout the guide to assist an individual to apply the concepts to her/his own planning.

The guide also includes a supplementary ‘Supporters’ Guide’ section to assist family members, advocates, or support workers to use the guide with people with cognitive disability and complex support needs. The guide may also be useful for practitioners as it complements the ‘Being a Planner with a Person with Disability and Complex Support Needs: Planning Resource Kit’ also available on the IDBS website.

For further information about the guide, please contact idbs@unsw.edu.au.

The development of this guide was funded by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.

Download the guide here (PDF) [13 Mb]

Download the guide (fold out version) (PDF) [13 Mb]

Download the guide (A4 print version) (PDF) [13 Mb]

Download the guide (black and white version) (PDF) [12 Mb]

Download a summary of the guide (PDF) [247 Kb]

Being a planner with a person with disability and complex support needs: Planning resource kit

Being a planner with a person with disability and complex support needs

This Planning Resource Kit is intended to strengthen existing good practice and to provide guidance for engaging a person with complex support needs in planning. The kit is aimed at workers in planning or related roles, such as case managers or service coordinators, who engage with people with complex support needs.

The Planning Resource Kit focuses on the planning process which is envisaged as a three-stage process:

  • Stage 1: Pre-planning
  • Stage 2: Planning conversations
  • Stage 3: Plan-to-action

Each of these stages is described in this kit with explanatory notes and a case study example to assist the user to apply the concepts to their planning role.

The Planning Resource Kit is designed to be used in conjunction with other planning tools and resources appropriate to the person, the planner, the service sector and the broader context in which the planning is undertaken

For further information about the Kit, including plan training and evaluation, contact idbs@unsw.edu.au.

The development of this resource kit was funded by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.

Download the Planning Resource Kit (PDF)

Download summary of the Resources Kit

Download Narrated Powerpoint Version

Additional Resources

Electronic resources for planner professional competencies

Cultural competence - Resources, tip sheets, fact sheets and training available at:

Reflective practice - Practical activities to apply reflective practice available at:

Strengths based approach - Training and tools available at:

Motivational interviewing - Practice guide, worksheets, videos, and sample forms for practitioners available at:

Trauma-informed care - Training and tools available at: