For Summer Progress, Let Your Goals Guide You

Friday June 23, 2023 at 8:48 AM


With school out and summer here, it’s inevitable that normal routines will be switched up. It can particularly be hard for families with children on the spectrum since maintaining a consistent routine in their everyday lives is essential. Rachel Enright, Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Vice President of Clinical Development & Strategy at Gateway, says in an interview with Metro Parent, that with support, summer can be a great time for your child to progress and even build new skills.

Rachel suggests setting goals for you and your family this summer. “In school, your child may learn skills that support academic goals. During summer, you may have the opportunity to highlight new activities and social goals.” It’s important to be proactive and practical about the goals you’d like your family to achieve.

For example, your goal might include a family vacation. In that case, have clear and open communication with your child to let them know what to expect during the vacation- for instance, talking through the type of transportation you’ll be using, where you’re going, and what you’ll see and hear. Incorporating visuals can help you to prepare your child as well! Rachel encourages to “involve your child in the process to get ready for the trip by having them pack their carry-on, decide what outfits to bring, etc. This can introduce the ‘new and unknown’ in a low-stress way and help support a successful trip for everyone.”

Using your resources, like reaching out to your child’s support team, can also help you navigate through the goals you’d like to accomplish this summer. Rachel recommends to “schedule a meeting with your child’s clinician and express your goals for the summer. Based on that clinician’s experience with your child, they should be a sounding board for support and feedback regarding how to achieve your family’s goal.”

Once you have your goals set, write them down on a family calendar or sticky note to put on the fridge as a reminder of those goals. It’s important to keep these goals in mind, but still remain flexible. Sometimes goals can go off-target or go beyond the timeframe you have to achieve it, and that’s okay! Readjust goals to fit your family’s priorities.

Goals do not have to be a strenuous concept. Sometimes the goal could just be to enjoy the summer, spend time together and be present. There’s often pressure to do something, but being together and focusing on being in the moment are just as important. Gateway wishes you and your family a fun and safe summer!

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