New Year’s Goals

New Year’s Eve is often a time for reflection on the year that has passed and for making promises to yourself about changes for year to come.  I, myself, am not a resolution maker but a goal maker. I prefer to give myself something to strive for rather than yet another failed promise to lose weight or insert your own vice here.

Looking back at 2010, I am pleased as can be with the progress my youngest son has made and I’m looking forward to keeping it going. The key to setting goals for him, and for myself, is to keep them realistic. I’m not going to give either of us an unreachable, unrealistic goal. I’m not going to make a goal for him to sit down to a four course meal and eat it all.

For Logan, I like to make quarterly goals, small and attainable steps that lead up to my larger and broader goals for him. If you must make a big life goal for your child on the spectrum, understand that it takes a foundation of little steps to reach that. If you focus on the little steps, one day you’ll reach that big life goal only without all the pressure to do so.

The first quarter of 2011, I have two goals for Logan. I’d like to see him try eight new foods in that time, even if he does spit them out immediately. I’d also like to see him completely potty trained (he’s almost there already). I’ll revisit the goals at the end of the first quarter and make new ones for the second quarter.

If you take small steps, each achievement will feel like progress to you, keep you motivated to keep working with your child on the next small step. As a caregiver, you are the most important factor in your child’s progress. You are the key to their success, now and in the future. You lay the foundations they can build upon.

The problem we often run into where resolutions and those big life goals are concerned is that we forget all the steps required to achieve them. It is easier to climb the steps one at a time than it is to leap to the top. When you set down to make your resolutions, try making goals instead. Small, attainable goals that you and your child can use as the steps they are toward the larger life goals you have in mind.

Happy New Year from the Ohio Valley Autism Network. We hope 2011 brings you good things and long strides.

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