Regardless of any child’s ability, kids feel great about themselves when they are successful at attaining something or completing a desired task. Children can experience success by chance or they can achieve it deliberately by setting goals and reaching them.
Teaching your child to create goals and supporting them on the journey towards them are two very important and wonderful gifts a parent can give a child. Not only does it encourage creative thinking and problem solving but independence as well.
Goals are great to set when a child is facing something that is challenging. Children on the spectrum tend to be very visual and goals help them formulate an image in their mind of what they are aiming for. You can even help them make their goals more concrete by putting together a vision board for each goal.
If you see your child struggling with something he or she would like to accomplish take the following steps to teach goal setting.
1) Identify a doable goal with your child. Ask what he would like to add to his life or what she would like to change.
2) State this desire in terms of a goal. “My goal is to . . . .”.
3) Brainstorm how to meet the goal, breaking it down into baby steps.
4) Create a vision board that displays the goal and what is needed to accomplish it.
5) Have regular check-ins about the goal by talking about it informally (don’t nag).
6) Help your child brainstorm alternative solutions when she gets stuck.
7) Provide specific praise that focuses on the effort your child is applying towards his goal. The process is more important than on the outcome.
8) Celebrate when the goal is achieved!
Then sit back and take pride in knowing that you have helped your child get one step closer to an independent future lined with success.