Anything can happen in one hour. Just imagine what can happen in 8,760 hours. That is one year’s time. We all know that with our ASD kiddos, the smallest accomplishment is nevertheless huge.
But how do you keep all of the great feats safe and close to your heart for times to come? How can you create ways to track the change with end goals in mind? I have come up with some examples of how to accomplish just that.
They are easy and fun in the process. Most of the ideas cost nothing, but if anything, no more than a few dollars. Ready? Let’s do this!
My first suggestion for keeping track of your child’s achievements is to simply journal it. I am a writer, so of course I love to write all day, every day.
And while the art of handwriting is quickly becoming a thing of the past with computers taking over, this idea never requires updating.
Just write. You can make it as simple as a three-ring binder or a spiral notebook, or make it as crafty as creating a writer’s journal, leather-bound and all! You can even head to the craft store and start creating a memory journal.
Add pictures, write about the event, and decorate it. Have your child help with it. Grab some cool stickers and let him/her show his/her imagination during this time in his/her life. You can find some really cool journals at Barnes and Noble or your local book store. If you head on over to JoAnn’s or Michaels, this is where you can find some really creative ideas for your journal memory book.
My next suggestion is probably my favorite. As I sit here at my writing desk during uncertain COVID-19 times, I am pondering all the million ideas I have in my head that I really want to attempt.
This, once our times become more certain, and of course, safer, I am going be on like sausage gravy on biscuits: the good old classic camera! Take pictures…lots of them. This idea I am sharing with you came straight off Pinterest (my all-time favorite site).
If you have an old wooden box or something that resembles a wooden trunk large enough to hold 5×7 pictures, this is a timeless classic. The camera can be any kind of camera, really, so long as it saves your pictures so you can download and print them.
My suggestion is downloading the pictures to your local pharmacy app like CVS and have them printed out, or if you like Shutterfly, you can download your pictures right to the site to be printed out and mailed to you. Write on the back of the pictures what the end target was that you set for your child.
Write the date you set the goal and the date the goal was accomplished. If you choose this method, be sure to take pictures throughout the year. It will become easy to see the goal being accomplished. I am going to throw in another idea in this section because it too is a great idea.
In Shutterfly, you can create memory books. You create your goals and gather goal-achieving pictures however often you wish. At the end of the year, you can have memory books created by the goals you have set. I love this idea.
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Last but not least is video. Video recording is superb in the way you can watch change in real-time. You can actually watch your vision being attained. And what is so awesome about that is, you can identify changes you need to make in goals based on how your child achieves them.
This visual timekeeper is a goldmine in updating targets. Maybe you are thinking, “Videos are kind of out of date, aren’t they?” Are you concerned about technology changing ever so fast in how you keep your videos up to date?
I understand your concern. However, there are companies out there that will take old cartridges and update them to CDs. I have not done this myself, so I do not feel comfortable giving you specific companies that do this at the moment.
A more current way to save videos is by using your smartphone. Once the video is created, you can save it in Dropbox, Google Photos, or even download it to your laptop and save it on a flash drive.
I know watching for changes in your ASD kiddos can be overwhelming. Setting goals is just as difficult. While we tend to want to see changes quickly, we must realize that just doesn’t happen in the autism world. And it’s okay that it doesn’t.
But tracking it over 8,760 hours makes it more fun, and I can assure you, you will be surprised at the end. We cannot rush these kids. They work on their timelines, not ours. I think the ideas I have provided will help make it more pleasurable to go back and reflect on these achievements on a yearly basis.
You can start new goals every year, or continue to work on the resolutions you have already made. All in all, I feel these will make a difficult situation more pleasurable. I would love for you to share with me the ideas you come up with on my Tumblr site, Facebook, or Instagram!
This article was featured in Issue 106 –Maintaining a Healthy Balance With ASD