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  • Writer's pictureChristine McCarty

Measuring Progress

We all want our children to succeed in anything they do. We want them to be happy, make some sort of progress and become the best versions of themselves. However, success looks different for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you have a special needs child or not, everyone learns or makes progress on their own timeline.

As a parent, you have access to a set standard of milestones (click here to access the CDC’s milestones.) If your child doesn’t meet each one, it could be a warning sign. These milestones helped me identify that Addy needed additional help, but where do we turn when those milestones are well out of reach and seemingly impossible?

Unfortunately, there is no milestone chart or guidebook for a special needs child as each situation is unique and goals are measured specifically in each case. Sometimes it can feel like you are alone on an island wondering what’s next and whether the challenge will ever be conquered. It doesn’t matter if its walking, talking, chewing, writing, potty training, etc. it’s an uphill battle with no end in sight. And even once they achieve a milestone, you know there is another challenge looming around the corner.

So, how do you move past that? How do you get over the feeling of defeat or frustration? Look at your child. Embrace them for who they are and just like you should never give up on yourself, you should never give up on that child. Take a moment to celebrate the journey or achievement, however small, even if you take a step backward before moving forward once again. Always put more emphasis on their progress not the goal itself.

So how do you measure progress? First, set goals specifically engineered for your child and utilize your team to help determine what those goals should be. Sometimes those goals require modification, and you should not view modifying a goal as failure but rather revisiting goals after you’re better informed. Finally, never forget where you’ve come from, the PROGRESS, and remind yourself that everyone has bad days!

Looking back, I was overly focused on Addy hitting standard milestones. Laser focused on what she couldn’t do losing sight of all the progress she was making on her individual journey. It wasn’t until my third child was born that I realized I can’t compare my children to each other nor other children. Progress comes in different shapes and sizes. No matter how small, celebrate every victory and don’t be afraid to modify goals/milestones. Remember, progress is progress!

Much love,

Raising Addy

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