This month I have been attending local and not-so-local disability and/or special ed related conferences. I make it a priority to attend trainings and conferences every chance I get. It’s important that I am always learning and preparing. It’s important for my child, family, and community.
It is easy to leave a training and feel overwhelmed. As I sit and listen to experts and parents who are ahead of me in this journey, there is so much to learn. I absorb as much of it as I can. I am in sponge mode. Soak it up. Soak it in. Learn, learn, learn.
I leave the conference with pages of notes and a ton of possibly life-changing information. How can I remember it all? How can I put it all into practice?
I have learned a few strategies to focus and move forward after attending a training or a conference.
- Take time to reflect on what I heard. I set aside time to sit and read through the notes I took. I remember the stories and reflect on the ideas and the strategies. Just sitting and focusing helps clear the overwhelming feeling—and I know how to move forward.
- Make a list of takeaways from the pages of notes, stories, and strategies floating around in my head. Make a list of the top ideas that I want to focus on. These can be strategies, things to research, steps to take, things to think about. I make a list of what I’m taking away from this conference or this training.
- Select some actions. After gathering my takeaways, I then decide on some specific action steps. These are specific things that I am going to prioritize—things I will set aside time to research and implement with my child immediately. These action steps may involve my child, me, my spouse, the teacher, or others.
- Publish the action steps. Once I’ve decided what our action steps will be, I tell people about them. I have a conversation with my child about the changes or growth that we are beginning. I inform my spouse or whoever needs to help with the action steps. I hang a list of the new action steps or goals on the fridge and/or in my child’s room. Talking about the action steps and placing them somewhere helps me remember what they are. Seeing them hanging on the wall acts as a visual reminder to me and my family. And publishing these steps also helps keep me accountable.
Following these strategies after a conference or training session helps ensure that I didn’t waste my time. It gets me moving forward and making progress.
Find conferences and training sessions on the Find Services, Groups and Events page.