As a parent advocate, I get a lot of requests for exactly HOW I determine what to work on for my child, how do I figure out what is more important, than something else, and so on. I can only say that this changes from year to year for us. Because MY son has had serious communication and behavior challenges, some of what we have done has focused on diet and behavior at home, even more so than academic advocacy–which, as an education advocate, has been difficult for me personally, but it was what HE needed, and not what *I* wanted. Hard to remember as a parent!
For my son, and for most children with disabilities, consistent monitoring is crucial to ensure services are being applied correctly. So, my planning incorporates that, not only with the larger annual meetings for him (like IEPs, transition meetings, service provider meetings (and their reporting periods), but it also includes things like weekly meetings with the teacher, monthly meetings with providers, weekly observations at school. You need to schedule these and do them to ensure success for your child.
In this video, I show you how I did a brain dump of everything that was nagging at me with Aidan this year, and how I organized it into sections and goals, then moved those sections and goals into an annual big picture, and broke meetings and items down by months. I start with paper, sorry all you techies! I am one, too, but paper is more effective for long term planning, and for LASTING results, which is all I want for my kid.
My sections/goal areas for 2015, which are not listed in the video, ended up being:
- Life Estate Planning
- Maintain state/county/regional center services
- Consistent communication between both my son’s homes, his school, and providers
- Increased reading comprehension by end of 2015
- Increased social support network for Aidan
- Increased Independence for Job and Work Skills
- Emotionally and Physically Healthy
Each of these had specifics with regard to how I measure success in these areas–this will vary, because for me, it’s important that Aidan is learning social justice and self-advocacy skills, and not just general compliance. I also prefer for him to go to our community school, not a private school, so this is also a personal choice and I will measure success differently as a result.
Each goal, after the specifics, has certain things that need to happen to reach them, and major benchmarks are written in the annual calendar, and tasks are written in monthly calendars, along with who is responsible for what (you know, like my pesky ex-husband!). Then I put those into my Google calendar which syncs across all my devices for reminders.
I do use DIYFish inserts (the monthly charts) to track these on a monthly basis. Tracking is critical!!! If we expect the schools and providers to do it, we should be doing it, too!
Enjoy, and shoot me any questions you might have!
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