Helpdesk - Top 5 Things to Do After the Milestones Conference
Posted on 06/17/19 in School by Beth Thompson
We hope you had an amazing time at the conference and left with new, practical strategies to support you in your everyday life. Now that you have all this new information and an arsenal of great ideas, you may now be struggling with how to even begin implementing it all. This is normal, don't worry. The key is to take a short breather (very important, you deserve it), then dive in with the following five objectives:
Identify Key Takeaways
Hopefully you were able to attend all of the sessions you had hoped to. A lot of the information may have been new. While it is still fresh in your mind, write down a list of the top five most important things you learned at the conference. Maybe you learned that you can ask your child's school to include a new type of goal on their IEP or perhaps you're a professional who learned about a technique you may wish to include in your practice - jot these new lessons down in one place so you can reflect upon them when needed.
Prioritize Your Goals
Out of all of the strategies you learned at the Milestones National Autism Conference, what should you use first? You may have a lot of different things that you wish to work on. For example, you may be a self-advocate who wants to get a date, a job, and to apply for certain benefits. How would you rank these in order of importance? Maybe you think a job is the most important to you right now so that you can afford to take a date out for coffee. Reflecting on your priorities and identifying one or two things to work on at a time can make things much more manageable.
Develop an Action Plan
Now that you have identified what you want to work towards, you can begin to identify how you are going to make progress. Similar to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), you can break down your goal into several smaller, actionable steps. Using the previous example of wanting to find a job, you can begin by saying that you will write a resume and review it with a friend, family member, or trusted professional. You may then decide you want to post your resume on a job website and identify people who can support you along the way. In this case, one such agency you could contact might be Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD). If you would like assistance with identifying specific steps tailored to your unique circumstances to help you meet your goals, Milestones offers consultation services for a fee. We also offer a free autism Helpdesk to provide you with information about agencies, providers, and other supports in your community!
Implement the Action Plan
Identifying and developing your plan is perhaps one of the hardest steps. The next step of putting it into action can actually be much easier. Work on what you set out to accomplish. Make phone calls, connect with other people, and attend meetings. During this step, consider keeping a log or journal of what is working and what you’re having a hard time with. It is perfectly okay to revisit a step and modify it to help you be successful. Perhaps you are having a hard time writing your resume independently. You could consider taking a resume writing class or watching a webinar and get back to writing your resume after you feel more prepared.
Identify Areas for Future Learning
You sat through several sessions at the conference, but there is still a lot to learn. Write down a few areas that you want to dive into deeper. There is only so much you can absorb in two days! After pinpointing your areas of interest, give the Milestones team a call at 216.464.7600 ext. 200. Our professional staff can help connect you with information and resources to assist you in your learning journey year-round.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Beth oversees programmatic services for Milestones including the Helpdesk and consultation and training for businesses, providers, families and individuals. She conducts training throughout the community from hospitals to schools to places of employment. She serves on the Cuyahoga Council for Persons with Disabilities which oversees all services and programs that impact persons with disabilities in Cuyahoga County. Beth has a Masters in Social Science Administration from Case Western Reserve University. With 11 years of experience working with young adults with autism, Beth is passionate about helping teens and adults with autism fulfill their unique potential.