Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Accountability - Six Month Goal Check-In
Six months ago, I posted a blog about our Goals for 2017. Anyone can list their goals. It is quite simple: you need a writing instrument and a sheet of paper. When writing goals, I try to be realistic about my and my son's abilities. You certainly want to set goals that are attainable while also stretching out of your comfort zone on a few. This is how we grow.
One of the tools to help us achieve our goals is accountability. Having someone hold you responsible is a motivator for success. Seeing something through to completion can be invigorating. You, dear ones, are holding me accountable for these goals. So, how are we doing?
My top goals for my son are self-motivation and independent study. Sadly, we have not made much progress with either of these goals. By age sixteen, most children have been independent with their studies for years. The difficult part for children on the Autism Spectrum is that unless it is an area or topic that truly interests them they could care less about it. Children on the Autism Spectrum also tend to perseverate on certain topics. In my son's case, he perseverates on video games. He knows when new ones will be released and plans his allowance before he even has the money. It consumes him. I wish school would consume him but he truly has no desire to learn nor does he see a need for it. This has been a long, ongoing struggle for us. Because he doesn't see a need, he isn't motivated nor does he seek it out on his own. Sigh!
As for positive attitude, I have been extremely pleased with my son's positive attitude toward learning this year. Although he may not be motivated to learn, he hasn't given me an attitude about completing lessons this year. It has been much easier to teach a child who doesn't immediately stomp on the brakes as soon as the word learning or lessons are said. We have included conversations this year in regards to career exploration. We've discussed my son's strengths and interests and what jobs he may be well suited for in the future. We've also discussed specific jobs that may be of interest to him.
Personal Life Skill Goals:
Personal hygiene has been an ongoing battle of wills for years now. Not only am I raising a teen boy but I am also raising a child with a diagnosis of Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism. These factors alone make this goal a challenge. We enlisted the help of my son's caseworker for this goal, which is now included in his goals with her as well. Every month she keeps him accountable. She asks how he is doing with this goal and what he can do to achieve it. :) She doesn't allow him to get away with blaming others for his lack of success either. Did I mention how awesome Ms. Dawn is?
Coping skills and self-regulating behavior go hand-in-hand. The more my son implements coping mechanisms, the better he is able to self-regulate his behavior. For example, my son can excuse himself from the environment that is over-stimulating him or causing him frustration. Then, he can take a few deep breaths to calm down and regroup. Implementing these coping strategies helps him to avoid a full-blown meltdown. He has done exceptionally well with this so far in 2017.
As for finances and time management, my son still has no true concept of money nor time. As I mentioned previously, my son has his allowance spent before he evens sees the money. One of the steps we will soon be taking to hopefully help improve the achievement of this goal is to set-up his own bank account. Hopefully, this will help him come to reality about the money he has and how he should spend it wisely. I've also prepared some lessons we will utilize in an attempt to help him make wise choices in his financial future. When school starts back in full-swing, I'll start implementing these lessons. Time management continues to be a struggle because my son perseverates on the things and tasks he likes and enjoys. If it is something he doesn't enjoy, like school, he thinks it should be over soon after you've just begun. Sigh!
Meal preparation is another area I am planning to work with him on as the school year continues. The difficulty again centers around his lack of interest.
At the end of my original Goals post, I shared some worthy goal words. I have personally been trying to be brave, be bold (live intentionally), be beautiful in words and deeds, and be true to myself. I feel I have been rather successful in my endeavors.
Did you make a list of goals for 2017? If so, how are you meeting those goals? What areas need your focus? Do you have someone who can help you be accountable? Strive to do your best, dear ones. The rest will fall into place with time and practice!