Module 3: Where does Picture My Future fit in the planning process?

Understanding goal exploration and why it is important

Goal exploration

All of the information gathered and discussed as part of the planning process forms part of the goal exploration process before goals are set. It is necessary to understand the person’s likes and dislikes, and important people, places and things in order to understand them and their context before setting their goals.

There are many ways of gathering information as part of planning and goal exploration:

  • people may be able to talk about what is important to them,
  • tell stories,
  • use existing information,
  • use art, music or drama,
  • get others to provide information.

Picture My Future is a method of using images (including photos) to help a person with intellectual disability document, explain and explore what is important to them.  It is one of the ways that a person with intellectual disability can communicate about what should be in their plan.

How is Picture My Future used in planning?

Picture My Future can be used:

  • before planning starts to help them get ready for planning and organise their thoughts. These people would bring their completed Picture My Future resource along to the start of planning.


  • during the planning process. The planner will need to allow time for the person to use Picture My Future (to collect pictures, describe them, and organise them into a Picture My Future resource). The person can use the Picture My Future resource to communicate with the planner. The planner needs to build this into the planning discussion and process.

These two options are demonstrated in the diagram below:

Planning diagram V4


Goal setting

The process of gathering information about the person leads to goal setting. It is only after you understand who the person is, what is important to them now and in the future, that a focus on specific goals for the forthcoming period (or the longer term future) is possible.

Goal setting usually occurs towards the end of the planning process. Sometimes, however, some goals are identified during the discussion and information gathering phase, including during the Picture My Future process.

Goal setting:

  • enables the person to express their goals and aspirations about how they want to live their lives.
  • focuses on the future – this is an important ‘bigger picture’ for service providers, as it enables service providers to see what is needed to achieve these rather than focusing narrowly on day-to-day service provision.
  • focuses on the present – this identifies the key elements of a person’s life that are needed to be maintained or provided now.
  • identifies the necessary actions, supports and resources needed to achieve these goals. It is also essential to consider how those can be enacted or provided in ways that are consistent with the person’s preferences.