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Time to Self CheckStep Two: System of Self Monitoring and Self Checking
For now, let’s talk about the system of Self-Monitoring and Self-Checking.  This concept of self monitoring is all about slowing down, checking to see how I am doing with something, and then making the decision to adjust my plan or stay on the same track because I am seeing success.  How many kids (or young adults) do you know that really think about this process or the importance of this part of the plan; after all, it takes time away from other things we would rather be doing.  So here is the deal: self monitoring must be self rewarding.  I have had many clients tell me that it is hard to self check because 1) They forget to and 2) More often than not when they self check they will find something “wrong”.  That feeling of finding something wrong impacts their emotional drive to keep going and to figure out “what” went wrong.  Three little tips that have come out of some recent sessions with clients are outlined below:

Create a set time of day to “check in” on your goal/progress.  Have this time be just before an activity of high preference (e.g., “first check in on your goal for the day and next you have Minecraft to do”).

Always have a “plan” for what you will do with the information you learn from your “check in time”.  Even when your plan is going well and you discover you are heading towards meeting your goal, establish a plan for how to keep going in that direction.  If your child finds they are “off track” create a plan to get back on track over time.  They may not be able to get back on track the very next day, so allow for passage of time so they can see that the process of both “checking in on their plan” and creating a plan to get back on track is reachable.

Short Goal Setting.  When you initially set goals this year, make them short term goals!!   Kids need to see the success of their goal setting and follow through quickly. The more they can experience success in goal setting the more likely they will continue this behavioral pattern of prioritizing and striving to reach a certain goal.

The idea of “goal setting” is a huge tradition around this time of year. We are turning a new page on the calendar and many of us take advantage of this to get our life “back on track”.  We have some type of motivation to do this (even if the motivation is short lived).  Let’s get our kids involved with this process as long as our expectations and “goals” for getting them involved are in the right spot.

Last little tip: don’t be afraid to model what to do when you don’t meet your goal and even when you just lose steam towards your goal.  Regardless of disability, all kids and students need to be more exposed to the idea of perseverance. So your goals may change and you may not reach the original goal you set out to achieve.  Maybe your priorities in life have changed.  So what do you do when that happens???  There is a difference between “giving up” on something and “shifting” where your priorities and goals lie.  This is the real life lesson we need to working on with kids of all ages!

Happy Holidays and have a happy New Year!!!

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Chris, Director of the Social Learning Center at Benhaven, holds a Graduate Certificate from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in Behavioral Inventions in Autism and is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist & Licensed Professional Counselor with a specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders and social cognitive interventions. The Social Learning Center is dedicated to learning, understanding, applying and communicating effective methods of social teaching for each individual and those who support them.