Setting Goals


As each new year arrives, most of us take the time to re-evaluate the past 12 months and move forward making new resolutions, new goals. How many of us take the time to make goals for our children as well?? Probably not the majority, but for those who do, kuddos to you!  Fortunately for Cali she has a team of therapists working together to set appropriate goals and objectives specifically suited for her. Each six months we come together, the therapists, Casey, and myself, to evaluate where she was at the start of these goals and where she currently stands. The results are always amazing. The evaluations open my eyes and give answers to why we are seeing such incredible progress with Cali. Setting goals and objectives has made ALL the difference!


Let me share with you something that completely validates the purpose of setting goals and the implications that come from doing so…


During a past evaluation of Cali’s IDP (Individual Development Plan),  I was surprisingly happy to learn one of Cali’s goals had not been addressed over the six month period. Why in the world would this make me happy?? The process of these evaluation meetings go a bit like this. Madi, Cali’s developmental specialist, will go over each individual goal and objective she has been working on. Showing us where Cali started and where she is now. When she is through, Dawn, Cali’s speech therapist will take her turn describing and explaining the same thing.  On this particular past evaluation, Dawn came to this goal:


Cali will ask “What’s this/that?” for unknown vocabulary

With each of Cali’s goals, you can most likely expect she will go from a 1 to a 3 in the six month period, as an average. When a goal is set, Cali is scored at a one. Scores 2, 3, and 4 indicate the progress she is making. Four indicates she has fully mastered the goal. Cali’s goal of asking “What’s this/that?” started at a 1 and ended at a 1.5. Six months and Cali had only progress by a .5?! After a slight moment of confusion, a sustained moment of excitement came over me. Dawn quickly realized she had not addressed this goal with Cali. Not addressed because the many other goals had taken precedence and overshadowed this lone ranger. Forgetting a valuable goal might make some parents irritated, confused, or whatever, but not me. On the contrary, I was only feeling gratitude for what this actually meant. THE THERAPY REALLY DOES WORK!!!!!!!  Setting goals and consistently working to meet these goals actually breeds success!!!!!


Yes, Cali did improve from a 1 to a 1.5 which was good news because any progress was good news, but she was capable of improving much more. As I mentioned previously, we usually will find Cali has progress two to three points on each individual goal within a six month period. Not always, but most of the time. The increase in points is always due to her therapist and us working hard to meet these goals.


Take time with the start off the new year to figure out where your child is developmentally and set specific goals and objectives for him or her to work towards.  If your child attends preschool or grade school, talk with the teacher to find out a where to begin. If your child is younger and not yet in school, utilize internet sites to give you an idea of where he or she is supposed to be developmentally. Or, whether the child is in school or still at home, call your pediatrician and they will give you many of the answers you seek.


Make goals, work towards these goals, and you WILL see progress. Don’t compare your child’s progress to their friends’, cousins’, or siblings’ progress Only compare the progress to initial standings. If they are improving from where they initially started off, this is a great thing. Just be aware of if they are improving at the rate they are capable of. Remember, Cali did improve from a 1 to a 1.5, but she was capable of improving much more. The key is figuring out what they are capable of accomplishing and setting reasonable goals.  You obviously want to present a challenge, something to work towards, but make it attainable.



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  1. Chelsea, I love your perspective on this! wanted to add that since then, Cali has solidly met this goal and more in asking questions. Her progress is a testament to the effectiveness of therapy, but also to the huge impact of the work you do with her as a family.

  2. I love this! A key thing that I have learned in my autism and therapy classes is that data is CRITICAL! If you don’t know where you are starting how are you ever to know if something is working or not? If you don’t have data to validate your interventions you have no clue if it works. Love this!

  3. Love this post! (Good and appropriate) goals are what drive effective therapy. And like Dawn said, I think Cali asks me “what’s that?”, “what’s that sound?”, “where’s your husband?” every session! She is soaring!

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