A developmental delay is defined as a cognitive and / or physical impairment , diagnosed before adulthood, that affects an individual’s ability to function in daily life. People with developmental delays often have deficits in self-care, receptive or expressive language, and learning.
Examples of developmental delay include autism, Down syndrome, and mental retardation. The dominant nature of these delays is that they require highly specialized interdisciplinary treatment and services. The objectives are the backbone that supports the solution of the central problems related to development delays. They provide reliable tools to achieve and measure progress. But you should not only think about the objectives to be achieved without taking into account the capabilities of the people.
HOW TO SET GOALS WHEN THERE IS DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY
Here we are going to give you some tips on how best to set goals for children who are diagnosed with a developmental delay.
- Gather all the information. The first thing will be to gather as much information as possible , including psychological evaluations, standardized tests, evaluations from professionals (occupational therapists, speech therapists, teachers, etc.) and information from parents and other caregivers.
- Assess strengths and needs . Goals for the developmentally disabled should focus on minimizing weaknesses and maximizing strengths. You need to have a clear vision of what this means, so create a list that describes the person’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Write down the problems. Synthesize all the information to create a list of problems to be addressed. More than one problem can be addressed , as developmental delays include a number of deficits that require support and remediation, such as academics, cognitive delays, behavioral skills, emotional problems, self-regulation, self-help skills , and social and communication skills .
- Prioritize problems. In the school environment there will be multiple problems that will be addressed simultaneously. At home it may be necessary to aim for one or two specific targets at a time.
- Write an objective for each topic. The objectives should describe the desired end result … what is to be achieved? These help paint the big picture. For example: “Every morning Luis will brush his teeth without help or prompting.”
- Write the objectives. Goals are the steps that all team members must follow to achieve the goal. The objectives must meet two criteria: they must be specific and measurable. Specific: Identify small concrete steps necessary to reach the goal. Rate how each step will be accomplished : indicate where the work will be done, when and with whom, define the level of support required for success,the number of prompts required and the rewards to be awarded. Measurement: How can this task be measured in a meaningful way? Specify the type of measurement, frequency (specific amount of time or percentage of trials), levels of prompts, time parameters, and markers of success. For skills that are difficult to measure, such as self-control, describe what should be observed.
- Implement the plan and evaluate the data. The information that is collected should be analyzed on a regular schedule. Depending on the goal, this may be necessary daily, weekly, or monthly. The key is to evaluate the data often enough to identify when an intervention is not working so that action can be taken to change the approach. On the positive side, progress is sometimes so minimal or takes so long to achieve that the only way it shows is by evaluating the data. This is a great way to motivate and celebrate progress.
Goals are not an option. They are absolutely necessary to teach the skills that will make a difference in the quality of life for people with developmental delays.