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The Year Ahead

  • Posted on September 2, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Before the new school year begins, I wanted to take a moment to share what I hope we can accomplish this year.

Ben

I hope Ben adapts well to his new environment and that his new teacher is really committed to meeting Ben’s needs. I hope this year is focused more on academics and less on coping. I hope that by the end of this school year, Ben makes the academic progress he is truly capable of making.

Alex

I hope Alex gets into the communications clinic and that we successfully match him with appropriate communication equipment. I hope that he learns to use the equipment quickly, so that he can better communicate his wants and needs. I also hope that, by the end of the year, he’s graduated to using the equipment to communicate what he knows and what he’s learning, so that he too can make the academic progress he is truly capable of making this year.

Willy

I hope Willy adjusts to high school quickly and finds it a welcoming and enriching place. I hope we succeed in preventing or squelching any bullying that may occur. I hope that Willy gets enough of computer programming this year to know if he really wants to set his heart on becoming a video game designer. I hope his drawing teacher can help him further develop his artistic talents.

Brandon

I hope Brandon finds the right balance between school and work, and school and his social life, and that he makes school a bigger priority in his life. I hope that Brandon actually makes the effort to do his work, keep up with his classes, and get the grades he’s capable of getting. I hope Brandon discovers what he wants from his future and finds a productive way he can pursue it.

Stephanie

In turn, I hope to find the right balance among family, school, work, and leisure. I cannot afford to burn-out and I don’t want to let any of my responsibilities slip. I hope, by the end of this year, I prove that I am up to the challenge. I also hope to have two of the four books I’m working on published and available to readers by the end of this school year.

Mark

I hope Mark is able to find his joy and to fill his “school time,” when the rest of us are occupied, with something that helps him feel personally fulfilled.

2011: Resolutions or Goals?

  • Posted on December 31, 2010 at 8:01 PM

I believe in progress.  I don’t mean I’m politically progressive, though I am depending on the definitions you use.  What I mean is that I believe that people—as individuals—are here to progress.  We grow, we change, we develop—and, if we’re lucky—we improve ourselves in the process.

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.  Relying on the New Year to reinforce commitments indicates to me that one’s commitment isn’t strong enough to face up to the challenges progress requires. 

Instead, I believe in goals.  Goals can be made during any point of the year.  I make goals, change them, and adapt them throughout the year.  And I work towards them.  I succeed.  I fail.  I grow.  I change.  I progress.  And I strive to improve.

Yet, despite my lack of belief in New Year’s resolutions, the change in year marks one of those times I re-evaluate my progress.  It’s not the only time, but it’s a pivotal time, because the New Year is potentially inspirational.  It’s a new start—one that relies solely on our perception, but a new start nonetheless.

One goal I have had is to write a nonfiction book tentatively entitled Neurodiversity at Work: A Manager’s Guide.  The purpose of this book is to prepare contemporary managers to cope with and capitalize on their neurologically diverse workforce.  Simply put, managers aren’t trained for this.  And I want to give managers a tool to improve their skills and awareness in this area.

Yet, I haven’t made much progress with this goal.  That’s got to change.  The New Year, with its fresh slate, is a good time to commit to that change.

So, I commit to you, my lovely readers, that I will post one book-specific post per month.  I commit to myself to follow up this book-specific post with book-specific work, related directly to completing the proposal for this book (a precursor to writing the book).

Another goal I have isn’t very well formulated.  I want to help my children grow and develop, but unlike many of my fellow parents of autistic kids, I usually don’t plan this.  Sure, there are IEPs and therapy goals.  There are even medical goals.  And while I contribute to the planning process and strive to achieve those goals, they are neither personal nor familial.  These commitments aren’t made from parent to child.

So, I also commit to you, my lovely readers, that I will post one progress report on each of my children each month.  I commit to myself to plan the kind of progress I want to work towards in that regard.  And I commit to my children to make my plans and my efforts wholly respectful, honoring the people they are and not simply enforcing “shoulds” and “coulds” on my children.

Now, I’d like to ask you:  Goals or resolutions?  What are yours?