When my daughter first came home as an infant I had enormous dreams and expectations for her. After five life-changing diagnoses and a very long road, I figured out things would be different than I expected. No one, not even the professionals, can tell us the future. I decided to live and worry about today, not the unknown, and to work on short-term goals for now.
Raising a child or children with disabilities has its rewards as well as many challenges. Long-term goals can be put in place for future care, but what about short-term goals and expectations for our children?
Activities of daily living are an important part to our children’s days. For some, the whole day is focused on just these basic goals, and that is okay. Sometimes, I spend the entire day making sure my daughter eats her three meals with snacks in between, do a little bit of walking to the bathroom, and maybe squeezing in one story.
I remind myself: These are acceptable goals for today.
Working on social skills is another great short-term goal. On the days when I know we are going to have an outing the next day, I might work on these types of social skills. Showing her what to expect makes for a much smoother transition. To learn more about social skills, check out the Welcome to Speaking of Speech website.
Communication skills are very important in our children’s lives. There are so many different ways for our children to communicate. Some do well with speech therapy. Some do well with picture cards or a more hands-on approach with sign language. Technology now also adds in another approach and there are many apps to choose from.
Focusing on the day at hand helps us a lot. My expectations are reasonable and goals can be set and accomplished. My daughter seems to adjust to them well and is able to succeed.
You might find more helpful tips on the Navigating Daily Life – Parenting Children with Disabilities page on this website.