Helpdesk – Top 5 Things to Do After the Milestones Conference
You did it, you made it through the conference! We hope you had an amazing time 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 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 2018 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 2018 Milestones National Autism Conference, but there is still a lot to learn – for professionals, parents, and self-advocates. In addition to other agencies conferences and events, many of which are located on the Milestones autism calendar, the Milestones National Autism Conference explores new topics, expands on prior areas of learning, and provides an opportunity to connect with others each year. Perhaps you have unique insights that you wish to share – take what you’ve learned, both your successes and failures, and consider submitting a proposal for the next conference. Proposals will be accepted for the 2019 calendar year in fall of 2018. For more information on submitting a proposal, please contact Leslie Rotsky at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing you next year, June 11-12!
Nathan completed professional internships at Milestones Autism Resources and Achievement Centers for Children. Prior to returning to Milestones, Nathan was employed full-time as an Early Childhood Mental Health Social Worker at Achievement Centers where he provided consultation and therapeutic services to young children and their caregivers. Nathan is also an Autism self-advocate who has shared his experiences on panels, at events, and on the local news. He is passionate about teaching and Autism related research.
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