Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Always Learning, Always Growing

12/27/2016 | Published by: Kelly Mastin

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.