New Year Goals
Happy New Year!
It’s that time of the year for autistic self-advocates and those who know someone with autism to create goals in order to accomplish them this year. Want to learn how to set these goals? Here are the steps:
1. Make your goals achievable. This means to select realistic and age-appropriate goals while understanding your own abilities or your child's own abilities in order to achieve your goals this year.
For example, my goal last year was to move up with the school district I work for. First, I gained my ABA (registered behavior technician) certification in order to gain experience providing ABA therapy for autistic clients. Next, I finished up my bachelor's degree in psychology with concentration in ABA and graduated back in October of last year. Then, I researched on my school district's website about job openings in which I can apply my ABA skills. I came across the special education behavior specialist position. I updated my resume with my college degree, ABA (registered behavior technician) certification, and other important experiences that would benefit me for the position. Fortunately, I came across a job fair event for the school district on their website that included an open interview for the special education behavior specialist position. Not only did I apply for the job, but I also attended the job fair and went through the open job interview. Did I achieve my goal? Yes!! I start my special education behavior specialist position for the school district this month! So proud to be moving up and I'm beyond excited!!
2. Make your goals observable in which they can be measured. This means focus on what can be changed overtime while others can see your own progress or your child's progress.
For instance, parents want their autistic child to help out with chores around the house this year, not just their siblings. When parents use a reinforcement system and notice their child engaging in chores around the house, progress is made. It could start out as one chore a month and then add on one or more chores each month as the child develops a routine. Their child's growth is occurring as parents witness it. Families should be celebrating these achievements and all achievements of their child!
3. Create small objectives that lead to achieving the ultimate goal. This means to break down complex skills into small steps.
For example, are you an autistic self-advocate wanting to earn a driver's license this year? I recommend practicing driving in your community first before going on the main roads in your town like major highways. Personally, I had to go through the 6 hour driving permit course with a driving school after I got my permit. Once I completed that, I practiced with my parents prior to taking my road test a day after my 17th birthday, since my birthday fell on MLK day that year. Driving involves a lot of skills, so break them down in order to accomplish the goal of earning a driver's license.
4. Most importantly, celebrate your success of achieving a goal!
What goals do you have for this year? Share your thoughts in the comments section!