It starts innocently enough you attend your child’s first early intervention or IEP meeting. You sit down with a team of experts and you talk about your child and what his goals should be for the coming year.
Then because you are a parent, and part of your job is to worry, you begin to think that maybe since one year is mapped out, you should begin to think about the year after that.
And while you are at it, maybe it would be a good idea to begin to think about the transition to middle school, and what college your daughter should attend and will she have the skills to advocate for herself in getting the support she needs through campus services.
And then before you know it you are sitting in a puddle of worry and paralysis because you can’t imagine how you are going to get your child from here to there.
The reality is that a great deal of planning goes into having a child who is deaf or hard of hearing (DHH). As your child moves through the education system there are supports that need to be in place in order for him to function on par (or close to) children with typical hearing.
Being organized and aware of what your child needs is one thing, but just because you can think as far as you want into the future doesn’t mean that you should. In your desire to be organized and to stay on top of what your child needs there is a tendency to over plan, or at least the tendency to feel the need to anticipate where she will be in the future.
So, here is the part where a good business plan can come in handy. I was recently listening to a podcast (Danny Iny’s Connect, Engage, Inspire podcast to be exact) when his guest John McAdam (author of the One Hour Business Plan) began talking about how there is a tendency to over plan and to take business planning and put it way out into the future, how it’s easy to latch onto this idea that it’s important to have everything figured out for the next five years.
But in reality, good business planning is really about the next 90 days or the next six months if you want to plan a little further down the line. McAdam warns that once you begin to plan after six months things really do begin to get a little fuzzy. He also warns that many people look so far ahead that they are really detached from where they are today, and that the gap really needs to be bridged. There are too many uncertainties involved to get a more focused picture.
Child development is even more uncertain than any business environment. Sure we like to think that there is some nice linear model of how are children are supposed to unfold, but in reality there is really no way to be certain of where your child will be in six month. I say this not to discourage anyone, but instead to take the pressure of us as parents of children with hearing loss. Children grow by leaps and bounds. We have seen our children make tremendous progress in a short period of time and we have seen them remain stagnant longer than we thought they should. So plan away, but remember to keep it all in perspective.
How do you feel about letting go of some of the worries that are involved in planning for and helping your child with transitions by thinking a little more short term about the process?