Set Realistic & Smart Goals for Your Child

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Okay. So, just a few items before we get started with the webinar tonight, before the webinar begins. We will have all the mikes muted during the presentation. So if you have any questions, just type them into the chat box or, , you can wait till the end.

I’ll try to address questions as they come through the chat box. , if I miss them, just hold on to that question and, during the question & answer at the end of the presentation, we’ll unmute, you know, you can unmute yourself at the end and ask your question.

So just, you know, keep those questions coming. , you can type them into the chat box and I’ll check it when I’m done presenting and enjoy the webinar.

So my name is Stephanie Collins. For some of you that don’t know me, , I know that there’s a few new parents joining us, so just a little bit about myself. , I’ve been in special education for about 15 years. I think it’s a little bit longer. , and I, you know, my specialty was interpreting for the deaf, , working in the special education units, , in schools.

I am the mommy of two actually that are on the spectrum  as well , and here through Autism 360, I am a parent support coach , I help with all the programs, supports and parents support. , so I will be your presenter tonight.

Setting Realistic Goals a.k.a SMART Goals

autism SMART goals

So the topics tonight is setting realistic and attainable goals. and these are going to be goals in the home and educational goals. I think that a lot of times we focus on educational goals, which of course we definitely want to focus on those things, but we also have to implement goals in the home, whether it’s educational in the home.

Because you know, as parents and I push this as my on myself and, , as a parent I’m my child’s greatest advocate and my child is only going to be as successful as I can help them be. So it’s not only the team at the schools or our therapists or any support that we get on from outside sources, they are our team.

But we are also responsible for advocating and you know, implementing those goals, whether at school or at home or with the caregivers at grandma’s house implementing all of those and you know, routine and practice and keeping those goals going in the home, are very, very important,

Home or school like, you know, we can work on reading and writing at home. We can work on counting, , the alphabet, things like that. But we can also work on goals in the home of doing chores. Whether that’s, you know, bring your plate too. The sink when you’re finished eating, pick up your toys.

We have to set goals for our child and even though some of those things may be a struggle, we have to practice, cause they are eventually gonna keep growing. They’re going to keep developing and they need to know,

You know, what they need to do. You know, I have very high expectation of my children, but I have a realistic expectation. I know that they’re not going to mop the floors and run the vacuum  and do all those things. They’re five and six, you know, so they need to be age appropriate. They need to be appropriate for what their skill level is and what their, you know, physically or mentally able to do for themselves.

What Does Smart Goal Means–

So some goal explanations, I’m going to dissect what a smart goal is. You hear that everywhere. Smart goals, smart goal, we discuss it. We use smart goals with autism 360 and what that all means. , a lot of times you’ll hear it in school meetings, a smart goal.

Yes, it’s an acronym, but what does it stand for? What does it mean and what do we, what does that, you know, a smart goal? Okay, yeah, we want it to be a smart goal. But what does that smart stand for? So when creating goals, we want them to be smart goals.

We want them to be specific, measurable, attainable. We want them to be relevant and timebound thus the smart goal. So there is your acronym for you, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound.

So I’m going to break these down for you so that we can go into what a goal is, what an educational goal is, ,and what this smart goal is and how to, what each piece of that specific measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound goal means for us as parents and for our children.

So when we create goals, we want them to be specific. General goals are easy to come up with. You know, I’m trying to think of something very general , bring your plate to the sink. That was one I used earlier. count to five. If they are good at counting , you know, find the color red. I know colors was one that, you know, was a very easy one to start with with my children. But you know, what’s, you know, pointing to colors , that’s a pretty easy goal once they know their colors.

Making A Goal Specific —

But with a specific, in a smart goal, we need them to be specific. This and this is most effective. and it’s a way to ensure that your child will meet the goal. We need specifics. , and yes, general bringing the plate to the sink, but it would be like coming,

You know, a general would be come to the sink, but in more specific, bring your plate to the sink, bring your cup to the sink when you’re finished eating. Bring your plate and cup to the sink. And that’s going to be more specific , measurable. 

The Goals needs to be measurable —

When we want, we want a measurable goal and we want to have something measurable so that we can see the progress that our children are making, our students are making. , and that’s why we monitor progress with the Autism 360 program. Part of the goal thing, theme is, you know, we want to measure progress.

So when we are working with you and creating goals with you, we want to make sure this measurable pieces in there. we have to make a goal that’s measurable for success. and most common is for it to be measured by frequency. And then accuracy.

And for example, a goal would be, you know, you’re going to attain this goal. You’re going to accomplish this goal three times a day, four out of five time, you know, five opportunities or tries and do it 80% of the time.

And when you are working with schools, if you’re working with IEP or some type of educational goal plan with your school, goals should be measurable to this. I know that, I’m in the United States, but in the state of Ohio and most of the States, an IEP that’s implemented, , and that’s an individualized educational plan.

They have to have these measures, otherwise that’s not accepted by the, you know, the state education board. So we need these specifics, , for the measuring, , to see the progress that our child is making. And as a parent,  I want to see what my child is doing.

You know, if he’s only doing, you know, a certain task one time a day, but he’s doing it 100%, well that’s a start , but we’re going to get to three times a day and 80% would be good. And then how many times are we giving him that opportunity to meet this goal or even make an effort to try to make this goal.

Realistic as Well…

Attainable goal, this needs to be something that they can achieve. It needs, they need to have the prerequisite skills, , for this goal to be realistic. , and it needs to be a realistic goal.

And when I say realistic, it has to be something that, you know, if your child can’t count, you know, they can’t count at all. It isn’t realistic to say in three months I want my child to count to 20. Now it’s possible. It’s, it’s completely possible, but they have to have a motivation to do that. And it does take repetition and practice and routine. 

you know, I see a lot of parents who have children are nonverbal. My daughter, she’s nonverbal. , she, I think has a vocabulary of about five words right now. So for me, unrealistic goal, that would not be attainable.

It would be like, I want her to say 50 words next by next month. Okay, she’s five and she has a vocabulary of around five words. She’s not going to come out with 50 words in a month no matter how much time I put into it.

And that’s the, and the other piece of that is if you frustrate your child, you’re going to make them not want to learn or if they’re not going to want to do a certain task. That’s why when I’m working with parents and a child becomes frustrated when we’re working on something, we walk away and I did that with my son, you know, I would make flash cards and we’re going to work on this and he’d get mad and scream or tear ’em or you know, he didn’t want to be involved.

So I had to be like, okay, he’s going to work on this when he wants to. And I had to find times that he could work on his goals. When he was j ping on his trampoline, he would count with me or sing with me when he was moving and enjoying.

And in a good mood was a great time for me to kind of implement it into whatever activity was doing, but not just, let’s sit at the table and look at flashcards. and it depends on age too, you know. and any other, you know, issues that may be going on if they have anxiety, if they, you know, have some attention issues, or any sensory issues, all of these things can affect, these goals and an attainable goal for, you know, an attainable, smart goal would be getting themselves stressed.

That would be, that’s a great goal. So get yourself dressed. But if we ask our child get dressed and then they can’t reach their clothing so they can’t get in the closet because they’re are too short and the closets of clothes are too high, or they can’t get into their dresser, they’re never going to meet this goal.

So we’re like, well, why isn’t he dressing himself? Well, he can’t get into the closet or he can’t get to his dresser, but if he has access, , then he can start practicing getting dressed. My daughter, for example, she will trash your clothes. So I try to keep them out of reach, but I keep some at reach because she will try to dress herself.

And that is a goal that, you know, I want her to be well, you know, all of us want our children to eventually dress themselves. , we all eventually need to dress ourselves. So, I think that and attainable goal was getting himself dressed, just making sure that they have access to it. Now if they’re destructive or they make a mess, then just give them the opportunity to have access to some clothes or picking out their clothes or anything like that.

Irrelevant goal. So the goal needs to be relevant to your child’s life. If it’s not relevant, they’re not going to be motivated to work on the goal. Things or young children. I mean, for anyone, you know, we want to eat, we’re going to get dressed, we’re going to do these things. So, you know, food is a motivator. It’s relevant to their life.

They have to eat, they have to sleep. They, you know, those types of things. Now, sleep is one that can be tricky because they need sleep, but they fight it. But eating, you know, we want to make sure these goals are something that they’re motivated to do.

Eating, getting dressed, counting, coloring activities that they like. , you know, if it’s, you can even create a goal whether, you know they’re playing with a toy, but are we taking turns playing with the toy?

If we have issues with sharing, then that would be a goal. Okay. Let’s work on sharing and turn-taking. But we’re going to do it with our toys because we like playing with our toys. So make it relevant to their lives. And then time-bound. And this is, you know, the T this is the smart parts and other smart part of the goal is timeout.

Bound your Goals in a Time-frame —

Making goals, making goals Time-bound ensures that the goal is mastered in a realistic timeframe. And what does this time bound timeframe when you meaning, it’s like this is also dependent on the goal itself.

So the more challenging the goal of the longer the timeframe, if it’s something that you think your child can meet in a realistic, you know, while they can meet this in three months, okay, that’s great. But you know, every goal, I think it doesn’t always have to be full year or you can say are going to do this in six months and you come to six months, you reevaluate, okay, we’re not making this goal.

We make some adjustments, or you know, you definitely want to doc ent the progress they are making. So with IEPs for example, , those are usually each year. So my children for example, will have goal set that for the year. You know, we’ll have a meeting, we’ll set some goals for them and they have the whole year to work on them, which is, you know, school years, with nine months.

so the nine months to try to meet these goals. Now they’re not always gonna make these goals, but the goal is to move towards meeting that goal a hundred percent, and then the more challenging the goal, the longer they need to,  have to work on it.

Some goals, I’ve seen goals that are, , way beyond, a child’s capabilities and not that they’re not eventually going to get there, but say they’re in second grade and you give them a goal that’s probably fifth or fourth or fifth grader, then it’s not likely that they’re going to meet that goal.

So just being realistic, and that includes you being realistic with your child. , the team being realistic with your child about what they can accomplish. And we’re not saying that they can’t accomplish more. I’ve, I’ve created goals for my son and he accomplishes in three months and I’m like, well, okay, yes, we should have made them a more difficult. 

And I’ve had some that the goals, we’re not meeting them at all. My daughter, , you know, she’s had goals where she just, Nope, she’s not ready for that. Developmentally, she’s not there. So we’re going to toss that to the side. We’re going to back up, we’re going to make smaller goals.

We’re going to, you know, make these more measurable, we’re going to give her a little more, you know, more chances to make these goals and meet these goals. , but that’s the great thing about goals.

They’re always adjustable. You can always change them and make them fit what your child is capable of and reminding yourself as a parent that just because they don’t meet their goals doesn’t mean they fail. Look at what the progress they’ve made.

I always like to look back at, okay, well this was your IEP last year and these are the goals you made. These are the goals you didn’t meet. And then, wow, look at the goals that you’re meeting now. And you know, it’s also, you know, it’s really on us as parents, is that we’re practicing things at home as well. , I send my kids to school every day and then they come home and we still work on things.

Now I give them a little of a break. They need a brain break after school. They get a snack, take some rest. , but then, then we work on, you know, counting why we’re j ping on the trampoline or we’re working on coloring or writing our name or spelling our name out loud. , slowly but surely.

But working on those goals and working on the goals that you know, you create with your education team, you can, it’s good to work on those at home. I have a binder for my children with their IEP goals and different strategies and different ways for them to practice meeting those goals.

So when they go to school, they’re getting it at home and at school. just making sure that they’re surrounded by it, they’re getting a routine, they’re getting practice and practice is key.

Some goal examples which is not measurable–

So with, measurable goals and goals that aren’t measurable, there’s a few examples that don’t work.  you know, measurable and attainable goals are key when creating a goal, , and this includes chores and activities in the home, cleaning up, picking up your toys. and I see that this, my picture’s a little covered by me. I don’t know if I can move my box, but these are examples of goals that are not measurable.

All right, so not measurable. Jump rope for one minute without stopping, pay attention to chores when reading, do more math problems. Those are not measurable on do more math problems. Well, how many more and how many times and what kinds of math problems,  to understand what I read. Okay.

Understands a very broad, what do you want them to understand? and none of these goals read better. Okay. Read better or, you know, can they read it all or you know, we need to make sure that they’re measurable. So these goals would not be measurable goals, run around the track in five minutes.

I mean, how many times we were running around the track cause one loop might not take five minutes. And how big is the track and how far we going, that’s just not a measurable goal.

Using First Then Contingency Strategy —

So from the last, I don’t know if you guys had participated in the last webinar, but the first, then contingency is something that, is used a lot,  in a very great, practice with our little ones and using that, you can use that with goals.

First you, you know, you have the desired goal and then you reward or you know, give them a desired activity. So first we’re gonna, you know, we’re going to work on counting and then you’ll get five minutes with your iPad or you get to color for five minutes. 

These are examples of first then, but they can also be small goals that you implement at home. And I like first, then not so much for educational goals, but for the home. Like first we’re going to you know, when we’re done eating,

We’re going, you know, first we’re gonna eat and you’re going to clean up, you bring your plate to me and then you can go jump on your trampoline or you can go outside and swing or you can have your iPad for five minutes, and adding into those goals, you know, measuring, you know, measure the goal.

Like with prompting first try second try. They didn’t do it at all. and these measurements aren’t so much that you’re writing this goal out, but documenting that, you know, first you prompt them and they don’t, they do it and then they, they or you prompt them and they don’t do it the first try or they don’t do it the second try.

Or they don’t do it at all. But just like writing that down and documenting it, shows you progress at home too. Like, well, they cleaned up their toys today without prompting or I asked them to clean up their toys and they did it. , because the first time you asked them to do something, they’re probably not gonna do it, especially if it’s a brand new goal chore, , that you’re implementing.

Additional Info–

Okay. So with goals, and discussing home goals,  these are some additional things that I think are realistic expectations of our children. yes, they are on the spectrum  and these could be hard for them. and it will take them a little bit more time, but it is realistic for us as parents for our children to have chores and home goals.

Whether it’s cleaning, brushing their teeth, cleaning up, picking up their clothes or picking up their toys, , getting dressed, putting on their clothes or making their bed. And they can be simple goals. They don’t have to be just home, you know, they don’t have to be complicated. We don’t need to make it complicated, and these will require prompting.

They’ll require assistance and, but make it fun. For example, my son, when we were working on teaching him to clean up his toys, my daughter as well, we’re still working on that with her, but my son, we, they had the cleanup song while we found out what the cleanup song was.

They would do it at preschool. So we’d play cleanup song and it would prompt all the kids, all the kids even, you know, neuro-typical, autistic children. Everyone, it would prompt all the children that, Hey, it’s time to clean up our toys and then we’re going to go to circle time or you know, something to that nature.

It was a transition and it helps with the transition because the song would play. They knew like, Oh, that means clean up all my toys and then we’re going to the next activity. And the cleanup song was great. , we would play the cleanup song when it was time for us to pick up all the Lego blocks and it was time for bath.

So, Hey, we’re going to clean up all our toys and then we’re going to go to the bath. so, you know, make it fun. play music. It doesn’t have to be the cleanup song. That was just a song that they had used and I was implemented what they were doing at school, into my home.

And that right there, that’s just a perfect example of implementing and using what the educators are using in your home and vice versa. , you know, I would bring in things for the school, like, Hey, we’re using this at home as a visual schedule.

This is what we’re doing. And you know, it’s a team effort. So, you know, discuss with the school what you’re doing at home, see if they can implement it and then what they’re doing in school, implement it in your home. Again, just make realistic goals and expectations of those goals. 

Persistence, patience and repetition , those are very key. We have to be patient. It can be frustrating and it’s frustrating for our children too, especially if they don’t understand what they’re at.

We’re asking them or we keep repeating them. So if we ask them a question or we asked them to do something or say something and they do it, they’re done with it. So if we ask them to do it again and again and again, then they don’t understand why we keep asking them the same question. And I see this a lot. , and I kind of get on my family sometimes with my children.

There’ll be like, say, say Quinn or spell your name, Quinn and we’ll spell it and then we’ll have him do it again and again. And like by the second or third time he’s getting kind of frustrated because it’s like, I’ve already spelled my name, I’m done, you know, , I have a sign for, there’s a sign for this and sign language and it’s touch finished, which means I’m done with the like, I’m all done touch, finish ,

So it’s like he’s just, he’s done with it. I did it. I accomplish my task. please stop asking me to spell my name. So we just have to be, we do need to be persistent. We, but we need to have patience and repetition is great, but not like every two seconds.

Like we’re gonna practice spelling your name in the morning and then we’re going to do it at lunchtime and then we’re going to do it at dinner time because he’s already doing it at school as well. , so just repetition without just making them repeat themselves. They don’t want to be a broken record. We don’t want to be a broken record.

Okay. So with that, if you guys have any questions at this point, you guys can unmute yourselves, , or type your questions into the chat box. For any additional support or questions you need for this portion of the webinar. I’m going to stop my video.

 

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