A fresh start to the new year doesn’t just have to mean new diet and exercise routines. Taking new action with regards to your child’s autism therapy can give you a different perspective on your child’s diagnosis and potentially some renewed energy.
Some ways to start fresh in the new year:
- Familiarize yourself with your child’s therapy goals
You may already be well-versed in your child’s goals, but sometimes it can be hard to stay on top of what’s current. If you don’t already have a copy, you can ask your supervisor for your child’s most recent report, which should include objective and measurable goals. By objective and measurable, I mean that it should be clear exactly what the goals are and how meeting them will be determined. If you are unclear about a goal or how it will be achieved, check in with your child’s supervisor. If you are unclear, chances are some of the team members who should be running the goal may be, too. In addition to increasing your own knowledge, familiarizing yourself with the procedures will help you ensure the whole team is aware of how the goals should be run, which will only result in better quality help for your child.
- Ask about parent training
Again, this should already be part of your child’s treatment if you’re receiving ABA services, but we can all always use more help. Expanding your education surrounding your child’s behavior and how to build their skills can empower you to take a more active role in your child’s treatment. You can ask your supervisor to provide you with resources or give you additional training. Part of the parent education portion of your child’s treatment plan should include a supervisor or therapist helping you to run goals with your child, the objective being you practice these skills with your child outside of sessions. To re-energize yourself and the therapy process, you can ask for help with running goals more frequently. If you’re looking for more training outside of sessions, check out our parent education courses.
- Re-evaluate your own goals for your child
You play an important role in the goal development process. Your child’s supervisor likely has good insight on what would be developmentally appropriate, but you know what works for you and your family. Think about your daily life. What would be helpful in creating success for your child? Is the ultimate goal establishing more independence for your child? If so, think about ways to build this independence. Perhaps it’s dressing or feeding skills, or maybe simple chores. Your child may be capable of more than you think.
- Get organized
Isn’t this part of everyone’s new year’s goals? In the same way organization is helpful for adults, a child with autism can thrive in a structured environment. Think about re-organizing your child’s environment to help create this structure. One way this can be achieved is through using visuals. Visual icons or pictures can provide a prompt for children to remember steps in a sequence or where things go in a room or home. For more information on how to set this up, download our free Visual Aids Starter Kit here.
Organizing toys and activities is another way to create more structure or develop routine. Creating a designated area with toys and activities, clarifies what a child may engage with during downtime, encouraging more independent play. The more time spent with appropriate activities, the less time your child will engage in inappropriate behavior.