New Year, New Goals
So it’s a new year and we all love hearing about everybody’s new year’s resolutions. Things we would like to achieve now that the new number at the end of the date makes us feel like we have a fresh start. But resolutions aren’t always realistic and more often than not, by mid-January, we quietly continue our old habits, hoping everybody has forgotten our excited motivation for change from just a few weeks ago.
When it comes to children with communication difficulties, either beginning or continuing speech therapy, it’s important that we set goals that are meaningful and achievable. Some things to remember:
1. What will make the biggest difference?
A child may be severe in one area, but his more moderate difficulties in another area are causing him more trouble as he tries to communicate with other children at kindy. When, together with your Speech Pathologist, you are planning which skills should be targeted first, consider what is having the biggest impact on your child’s life at the moment and what will be the most helpful difficulty area to focus on.
2. Start with success
Some children thrive on challenges, but some are easily discouraged when the first thing they are expected to do is very difficult. This can decrease their motivation for therapy which can make it tricky to achieve progress. Sometimes starting with a skill they are likely to succeed at in a relatively short space of time can be a good way of starting therapy on a positive foot and giving your child a boost of confidence and belief in themselves.
3.What is realistic?
Let’s be honest, we’d all prefer a quick fix. But setting massive goals that probably won’t be achieved in the timeframe you are hoping for, won’t be beneficial for effectively planning therapy and managing both your and your child’s expectations. Setting smaller goals that work towards a larger, overall goal will mean that success is more likely to be achieved and also gives opportunity for more frequent celebration. Always a plus!
Children and difficulties change and what might have been a priority two months ago, may no longer be as relevant now. A child may also be showing slower progress in the target area, while making greater gains in another. It may be worthwhile to shift focus for a time to the skills that are more likely to achieve outcomes, and then later return to the ones that are appearing a little stuck at the moment.
Having a direction to follow is paramount for therapy to be effective and it’s important to set goals that are right for your child. It can be a hard process, but with the support and expertise of your Speech Pathologist, you can work together to set your child on the path that will lead them to success.