This date is usually synonymous with setting goals.
At your child’s IEP meeting, goals for your child are always discussed. However, do you have other goals you wish your child could master outside of school?
Daily, I hear people overwhelmed with what they want their child to achieve and they feel urgently about all of them. It usually sounds something like this:
“My child doesn’t know how to share. He has some words, but doesn’t use them very often and when I tell him he needs to let his sister have a turn, he will start screaming and punching his head with his fist. I want my child to start using his words and control his anger. He also needs to learn how to share.”
Well, here’s how you can help your child achieve any goal...
Get clear on the goal.
In the example I mentioned previously, there are MANY goals - sharing/taking turns, using words, managing emotions, and possibly sensory regulation. In my experience, most people have multiple goals lumped into one and don’t realize it. I get that you want to solve the whole problem, but to do that you need to do a few things.
The fastest and most effective way to achieve a goal, is to be crystal clear on what you are trying to achieve and break it down.
Let’s use the example above and work through how we break down a goal.
We’ve already established that there are multiple areas that can be possible goals: sharing/taking turns, communication, expressing emotions appropriately, and sensory regulation. Let's start in the first area.
The parent stated they wanted their child to learn how to share. Specifically, they want their child to take turns. Turn-taking can be different than sharing. So, let’s focus on turn-taking. Part of turn-taking is also having the ability to wait. If the child doesn’t have this skill, we need to teach “wait” first. (To teach “wait,” you will need to tune in for an upcoming blog post!)
Now, let’s move to another goal area. “I want my child to express their emotions appropriately.”
My question would be, does the child have the understanding and skills on how to control their anger? Teach your child how to manage their emotions. You will probably need to provide some replacement options for some of their behaviors. You can teach your child to stomp their foot, punch a pillow, say “I’m really mad,” or walk away when they are feeling angry. Practice these strategies and remind them of the appropriate strategies before an event that might cause them to be angry.
Continue in this way through all the areas. For each goal area, you keep breaking it down and determine the skills needed to achieve the goal.
By working in small, incremental, measurable steps, you will be empowering your child to achieve any goal.
Here’s to crushing goals in 2019! 👊🎉
If you are feeling overwhelmed or not sure how to break down a big goal, reach out or ask in the comments and I can help!