Individual Family Support Plan
Your family and the team will agree on a plan for your child. This will be called an Individual Family Support Plan (IFSP). It will be based on your child’s and family's needs. The plan can be updated at any time to reflect changes needed.
The IFSP is made in partnership by the child (as appropriate to their age), their family and the CDNT. It focuses on four key areas: priorities, goals, supports, and strategies.
The plan does not need to be written during a formal meeting between the family and the whole team. It can be developed and revised by the family and one or two team members during a CDNT appointment, home visit, online meeting, or phone conversation.
There will be priorities which your child and family see as most important to you at this point in time. For instance, it could be helping your child to participate in community activities, preparing to start school or move to secondary school.
Setting goals in your IFSP
The IFSP is an opportunity to focus on a goal or goals for your child. The baseline or starting point for each goal will include looking at your child’s and family’s strengths as well as their difficulties.
The number of goals active at any one time needs to be achievable and realistic for you and your family. Two to three goals at any one time is suggested as reasonable in most circumstances.
Goal setting within the plan should follow SMART guidelines. This means that goals should be:
- Specific (not vague or general)
- Measurable (how will we know that it’s achieved?)
- Achievable (for child, family, and team)
- Relevant (does this goal relate to the child’s everyday life?)
- Time-bound (when do we expect to achieve this goal?)
An example of an IFSP goal might be: ‘Matthew will take part in weekly football practice at his local club in October’.
There could be one intervention (support) or many and provided by one member of the CDNT or many. It may include individual, targeted and/or universal supports. See the next page in this section for examples of types of supports a CDNT can provide. The plan will state clearly who, what, where and when the support will be provided.
Using the same example of Matthew attending football practice, the example of team supports here might be: providing Matthew with appropriate orthotics for playing and preparing him for the activity through the development of visuals and a communication system.
This is the part where you discuss how the family and others around your child every day, such as carers or teachers, are going to help in meeting this goal. The CDNT will provide you with information, advice, and guidance around strategies they can use.
An example here of family strategies would be the plan and structure agreed by the family for taking Matthew to football practice and using the supports developed for his attendance and enjoyment of this activity.
To read more about how an IFSP works, see this document, National Guidance for Children’s Disability Network Teams on Individual Family Support Plans. This Guidance document also includes sample IFSP templates.