I'm not one for New Years Resolutions, but I do love making short term, achievable plans and committing to do them. This can be anything from signing up for a new course to develop my professional knowledge (I've enrolled in a 4 day conference next week and an AAC and Gestalt Language Processing course in February) or signing up for an organised cycle or hike to keep my personal fitness training going ... accountability is so important for my professional and personal development. Anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m a planner, but mostly short to medium term goals that have a specific end point.
In speech and language therapy, goal setting is one of the most fundamental elements of our practice. Without a goal, we could aimlessly work on different areas without any clear objectives or any chance of making meaningful change or progress.
So when a parent of a child that I work with emailed me on January 1st with her two goals for this term for her son, I was reminded of how important goal setting is.
At this time of the year, it’s important to reset and refocus on what we are trying to achieve for our children. Now the goals might not change from 2022, but we can:
Review and refresh our memory of them.
Analyse how we are progressing with them.
And maybe think of new ways to target them.
Or, move to the next part of that goal or step to achieve a bigger goal.
When a parent reaches out and suggests some new goals, I know that as a family, they are focused on where we need to go to develop their child’s language and communication skills. What was also important when she suggested them, they were goals that we can develop into SMART goals.
SMART goals are goals that are broken down into achievable and realistic steps that a person is more likely to succeed with. They are:
Specific – we can specifically state what we are targeting – the task or goal will be broken down into a small measurable step, with accommodations noted if needed.
Measurable – how we will measure the child’s progress as they are learning this new goal – this should include mastery levels and measurement tools.
Attainable – can this goal be achieved in the first place or is it too broad.
Relevant – Is this goal relevant to this particular child's needs.
Timely – does this goal have a definitive time span where it will be reviewed.
When we have SMART goals to work from in an IEP in school or at home, we have a point of focus and clear targets to work towards.
What are your goals for your child for the next month, two months or three months?
Are they around communication, receptive language, play skills, attention, or something else?
Reach out and let us know you plan goals at home or in school, and if you do, how do you find them.
Stay safe and I'll see you next week,