Whenever I think of goal setting for my son, it brings to mind his years of education. I remember our first Individualized Family Planning (IFSP), and the years of Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings. Although, Nate’s formal education has ended, we continue to set goals with his county Supports Coordinator and residential management staff during his annual assessment.
Setting these formal goals are great, yet over the years I have seen the importance for Nate to have personal goals. Making a plan for Nate keeps his needs in the forefront, and it allows us to have fun as well.
And we have definitely had fun with our goals, from joining the YMCA to go swimming, going on vacations, and more. So I am hoping to have the same success with the following goals.
My first goal is to seek more recreation for Nate. Although swimming is his favorite activity, I believe he would benefit from more. I want to incorporate bike riding. A fellow member of the Deaf/Blind Project purchased her son a bike and he looked happy riding it. I immediately thought of Nate, believing that he would enjoy cruising on a bike in the spring and summer months.
The next goal is for Nate and I to go hiking. Yes hiking! Although I have been apprehensive, as Nate can become frustrated, I believe he can do it. I am optimistic as I have seen an increase in Nate’s ability to walk for longer periods of time. A short hike would be great for him…and for me!
Lastly, my next goal is to work on increasing Nate’s communication. Throughout Nate’s education, we have worked on his ability to communicate. He has learned some American Sign Language (ASL) signs and the Picture Exchange System (PECS), as well as Object Exchange System (OES). I am not certain if an electronic device would be beneficial for Nate, but I am inquiring. If not, it is my goal to look for a system that will help Nate increase his communication skills to express himself, which will allow his caregivers to give him what he needs.
These are just a few of my goals as we go into the new year.
If you haven’t set personal goals for your child with special needs, think about it. It doesn’t have to be numerous. Simply tailor their goals to their needs and abilities, and work together to reach them. You will be happy that you did!