Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Parents/Caretakers of Students with Learning Differences
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Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Parents/Caretakers of Students with Learning Differences

A collaborative piece from the Denver Team:
Melissa Nieber, Sharon Heller,
and Holly Durston

1. Guide my son/daughter toward more independence

  1. Baby steps – this cannot happen overnight, so start making a list of important independent living skills and try one by one. i.e. First make his/her own lunch, then try laundry.
  2. Ask myself – “Can they do this?” “Have they done this before?” “Have I taught them how?” ”Have I given them the opportunity to do it on their own?” “Have I set any expectations yet?”

Independence goals at CLE

2. Do something for myself each day

  1. Get away – take time to go for a walk, watch my favorite TV show, meet a friend for coffee.
  2. Treat myself – buy myself something that I have been wanting or go to the new coffee shop I have been meaning to check out.
  3. Self care – exercise, meditation, time to talk to a friend, etc.. – even if for 15 minutes.
  4. Positive Affirmations- tell myself that I am doing a fabulous job, I can do this, I am strong, etc.

3. Be more forgiving

  1. Of others – maybe it is time to let something go and let someone know “it’s okay.”
  2. Of myself – maybe it is time to tell myself it is okay that I feel a certain way or couldn’t accomplish what I wanted.

4. Remind myself of what really matters in the big picture of life

  1. Ask myself – what is the most important goal for my son/daughter’s future? Is it to be happy? Is it to find meaning and gratitude in life through friends, interests, and work?
  2. Pick my battles – in the big scheme of things is this battle worth the energy and the fight?
Resolutions for students with learning differences

5. Be present

  1. Put it all aside – let go of the little things that are out of my control.
  2. Just Breathe – when it all feels like too much, just take a moment, close my eyes, and relax.
  3. Listen – stop and observe what is happening around me, what is my son/daughter trying to tell me.

6. Create a plan and take action

  1. Write it all down, break it into smaller tasks, and make moves.

7. Include my son/daughter in discussions about their future

  1. Have family meetings – schedule monthly meetings (with pizza) and use this time to talk and check in to see how things are going with some of the big picture goals.
  2. Give choices, expectations, and options – provide some clarity for my son/daughter on what’s to come… how long can they live at home or how soon can they move out, what’s financially reasonable, can they live out of state, etc.

8. Ask for help

  1. Use my resources – teachers, counselors, psychologists, other parents, community organizations, parent groups, etc…
  2. Delegate responsibilities to my family, spouse, & son/daughter.

9. Have fun!

  1. Take a trip.
  2. Plan an enjoyable activity for the whole family.

10. Celebrate successes – even the little things

  1.  Try not to overlook the small, but significant successes like passing an exam, making a new friend, or getting to school on time, to help us keep motivated when striving towards the big goals like graduating from high school, getting into college, and living independently.
celebrate successes

Newsletter Articles – January 2016

Maddie at CLE Costa Mesa

Individuals who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) typically have the executive functioning deficit of goal setting. Therefore, it is imperative as professionals to utilize a goal format that has a more concrete sense so our students can not only understand their goals, but see them in a way that they acknowledge as more achievable. The SMART goal format of constructing goals was created by George Duran in 1981 and since has been adapted as well as expanded by many other individuals with this original SMART goal concept (The SMART Goals Guide, 2014).

social skills at CLE

The New Year traditionally is a time for new resolutions. But for many students, committing to a year-long goal, whether verbally or putting pen to paper, can be stress inducing. The pressure of making a resolution can even undermine their ultimate success. Yet, setting goals is important. So at Rockville CLE, we have framed this concept in a fun and adventurous way in order to avoid many of the normal pit-falls and obstacles that arise when our students are asked to formulate goals.

Steven Ogle - CLE Austin

As long as I can remember every January 1st people have begun the New Year with a promise of a better year. It’s a way to re-write the wrongs we didn’t from the previous year. The tradition stems all the way back to the Babylonian era. The Babylonians made promises at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. Doing the right thing and giving back does seem like a worthwhile idea. Sadly, in our modern times it has became more about ‘self’ with improving physical well-being topping the list of most popular goals for New Year’s resolutions.

Setting goals with Jean Handler - CLE Fort Lauderdale

Jean Handler has been a part of the CLE Davie community since 2011. She has been a member of the Student Leadership Council since its inception in 2013 and Jean is entering the New Year with a keen eye on her future. “I’m ready to begin my career,” Jean said recently during a career development session. “I want to have a good job and use the skills I have learned from school.” Jean has created four goals that hold significant meaning to her, both personally and professionally.

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This has been a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.