Posted by Rebecca Bingham, Special Needs Mommie | Posted in The Special Needs Mommy | Posted on 12-05-2010
Tags: Down Syndrome, preemie, Therapy goals
I think that most people could agree that goal setting is a very important part of measuring progress and being successful. Most of us grow up with the “graduate from high school / learn a trade or get an education / get a job / support yourself” trajectory. Once you bring kids into the mix, the goals tend to be of the “sleep through the night / hold your own bottle / walking / potty training” variety. All worthy goals. Especially the potty training and leaving the house ones.
One thing that has been interesting for us to learn as parents during our many, many hours of therapy with the kids is to see how development goals are broken down into very small bites. Things that my oldest daughter just naturally did while she was growing up are the things that we have had to teach our other little ones. Did you know that stacking three blocks on top of each other is a cognitive development goal? I admit that at this point I can’t remember WHY it is an important step, but we stacked blocks for weeks until Tiny got the hang of that. It paved the way for her brain to make the next cognitive leap. Little things like clapping, sucking from a straw and learning to use your tongue to move food around in the mouth are all tiny goals that we have had to teach our little kids. Each victory is hard won, celebrated, and new goals are immediately given. This has been a hard transition for this mama who tends to be more of a go with the flow kind of gal. My previous goals were just to keep all the kids alive by the end of the day and feed them somewhere along the way.
Currently the goals in our family are the following:
Lulu. She is my typical kid. My 9 year old worry wart. She attends an art therapy class with other siblings of special needs kids. Her therapy goal is to not worry about the little ones and to write down her feelings instead of keeping them inside. My goal for her: to try and reduce the number of times I hear the words Justin Bieber and iCarly in a single conversation.
Cubby. My 5 year old sensory seeker. Nothing is to too fast, too spicy, or too loud for this kid. He craves stimulation. His therapy goal is to spin until he is dizzy and to learn to be able identify his feelings with words instead of acting out (i.e. I feel angry, I feel happy). My goal for him: make it through the week without anything getting broken (last week alone it was two window panes, a dishwasher, three walls and the plastic slide). Note to self, get rid of Sharpies; buy paint.
Nori. My preemie. She is almost 4 and holding steady at 29 pounds. Her goal is to gain weight. We have been working on this one forever. Forcing her to eat Greek yogurt, Trader Joe’s Belgian milk chocolate pudding and butter on everything has made my dieting efforts even more successful. My goals for her: get her to stop backseat driving and to stop pretending like she is a cat, at least while she is (not) eating.
Tiny. She just turned two and it is time that this child started walking. Kids with Down syndrome have very low muscle tone, so they hit their physical goals a little bit later. The problem we have with Tiny is that she is the youngest of 4 and has no need to move. Ever. Her siblings carry her where she needs to go and provide endless entertainment for her. Her therapist keeps telling us we need to push her harder, and we reluctantly respond that we just want her to stay little forever. So the goal: no more carrying her around. My goal for her: to get her to stop eating dog food out of the bowl. Or at least use a spoon (that is good oral motor practice). Last note to self, buy better dog food.
One of my goals it to be more proactive about goals, so now I am accountable. I will let you know how it goes. I will be a success if I just fulfill my original goal (the one about keeping them alive) and anything else is extra. Hope you hit your goals this week!