In light of the new year, January is a great time to set out aspirations and goals for people with disabilities for the year ahead. Goals are a great source of motivation for disabled people, no matter how big or small they may be.
Let's delve into how you can help to set targets and support the goals of adults with developmental disabilities.
Helping To Achieve Goals For People With Disabilities
Goals for people with disabilities should include short and long-term goals. A short-term goal could have the aim to be achieved by the end of the week or month. On the other hand, a long-term goal could have a target to be achieved within the next six months, a year or five years. It's important to remember goals can be the basis of motivation for disabled people, so there's nothing wrong with having multiple goals at once.
To help a loved one with a disability achieve their goals, consider the following areas.
Openly listen to your loved one about the kind of goals that they wish to set. It's best to give individuals with disabilities independence to set their own goals, to further drive their motivation. Whilst listening to them, be sure not to make any judgements and, depending on their ability, don't set goals for them. For example, an adult with a developmental disability like down syndrome may wish to reach a goal relating to their speech and language development.
- Break down each goal
To drive motivation for disabled people, break down each goal into smaller, more manageable tasks. You could present these smaller goals with mind maps, lists, drawings or sticky notes. Split the year into weekly, fortnightly or monthly goals to ensure your loved one stays on track to achieve their overall goal.
It can sometimes be a struggle for disabled people to stay motivated; therefore, your support is essential for them to achieve their goal. You can support them in many ways, such as physically assisting them in reaching their goal, emotionally checking in with how they are feeling, and seeing what additional items they need to reach their goal. For example, if your disabled loved one doesn't currently have any sensory support, you can research into the best sensory equipment for their needs.
- Look for external support groups
Depending on the goals set by the individual with disabilities, there may be an external support group available. These groups may get together once a week to work toward a common interest such as improving gross motor skills with sensory equipment like balance beams and sensory rooms. There may be virtual support groups or online one-to-ones that can support your loved one to reach their goal in the current pandemic.
- Look at vocational options
If you are trying to help an adult with developmental disabilities reach their goal, you need to think outside the box. Perhaps their goal is to get experience in a working environment. In that case, there will always be companies out there who want to give individuals the opportunity to gain experience; just reach out to them. Whether that's a few days a week or a month's work experience, it will help people with disabilities reach their goals. Due to the current pandemic, there may be the option to gain experience virtually from home. Or there may be online educational courses available that can also help them to achieve their goals.
Setting Goals For Adults With Developmental Disabilities
For adults with developmental disabilities, it's important to consider the kind of goal they wish to set. Developmental disabilities is an umbrella term which covers a range of abilities including those with autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome and those with hearing, physical and visual impairments. Therefore, it's vital not to compare the goals set from one individual to another as everyone progresses at their own pace.
When setting goals for adults with developmental disabilities, it's important to consider if the goal is SMART. SMART goals are targets that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and has a timed deadline. An example of a SMART target for someone with a developmental disability could be to improve gross motor skills in the next 12 months by using soft play equipment four times a week. You would then need to consider which soft play equipment the adult has access to and if there's any more soft play equipment that can help them achieve their goal.
Sensory Equipment to Help People with Disabilities Achieve Their Goals
When it comes to achieving their goals, sensory equipment can be a huge motivation for disabled people of all ages. To help your loved ones reach their goals, here are a few examples of sensory solutions for people with disabilities.
- Gross motor skills
To reach a goal of improving gross motor skills, there's a range of sensory equipment available. The IRIS sensory room creates an interactive experience to engage and encourage the development of physical skills.
- Fine motor skills
Fine motor skills involve intricate movements which are needed to navigate everyday situations. For those wanting to improve movement in their hands, the maze controller is a useful handheld device. Users must use fine motor skills to move the central marble through the maze to the colored points. Winning the game each time will be a great source of motivation for disabled people as the maze controller directly links up to an IRiS bubble tube. The bubble tube then changes color every time the marble lands on a new colour; a truly interactive product.
- Speech and language development
For those who struggle with communication, there is a range of ways to have a voice with our speech and language development sensory equipment. The interactive LED ladderlite allows users to develop their vocalisation skills through eight different sound modes, five of which are activated by the user using a microphone.
- Sound and music therapy
Sound and music therapy takes over most of the user's senses and can transport them to a world of their own by listening to calming and relaxing sounds. The vibro-acoustic platform is a great piece of sensory equipment for those who have an auditory goal. The user can lie down or sit on the platform and feel the vibrations move in time to the music. What's more, the user can choose which music and sounds they listen to using Bluetooth technology, making it a personalized experience.
And there you have the best ways to help people with disabilities and adults with developmental disabilities set and achieve their goals with the use of sensory equipment. For more information on how sensory equipment can help disabled people stay motivated, take a read of our blog. Or, if you have any queries about any of our sensory solutions, please don't hesitate to contact our friendly team.