This is an exciting time of year for many of us. You may be shooing your own children out the door on the first day of school (hooray for 5th grade at my house!). You may be saying goodbye to some families and welcoming others into your program. It’s a great time to reset yourself too, get organized, and think about what you want to accomplish in the coming months. Sure, I could save this post for the new calendar year, but why not check in with yourself now? Think of it as your own IFSP review!
Your IFSP Review
If you wrote an IFSP for yourself, what would it include?
Daily Activities & Routines – How do you spend your day? What’s working well and what would you like to change? Step back for a moment and consider your day in order to reorient yourself to your goals. If you’re happy with how you spend your day, fantastic! If not, what can you change? How? Start by picking one thing you can change and committing to it. Remember that it takes 10 days to establish a new habit so give yourself time.
Suggestions: Start & end your day by getting organized and prioritizing your work. Build in a 15 min walk somewhere in your day to refresh yourself. Do something you enjoy and work on your commitment everyday.
Priorities, Concerns & Resources – What’s important to you right now? Do you have concerns that you need to address? What resources do you have and what do you need? Rather than just thinking about it, start planning to DO something about it.
Suggestions: Ask for regular supervision time with your supervisor so that he/she knows what’s important to you, can provide ongoing support for any concerns or issues, and can celebrate the positives with you. Invite colleagues to share one great new resource at the next staff meeting. Offer to do a staff in-service on a topic of interest so everyone can learn together.
Assessment/Status: How are YOU doing? What do you do really well? How can you improve? Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done…and a gentle nudge on those things you want to improve.
Suggestions: Take a moment to revisit your professional development and/or performance plan. Ask your supervisor or a colleague to help identify your strengths and think about how to help you grow. Make a list of 2 things you want to do or learn over the next 6-12 months.
Activity: Try this fun activity at a staff meeting to help you/your staff “assess” strengths. Give each staff person a sheet of construction paper, markers, stickers, etc. Instruct them to write their names in big letters on their paper and decorate them. Ask each person to pass his/her sheet to the person on the right. Give everyone 1 min to write a strength or something they appreciate about their colleague on the paper. They can add decorations too. After 1 min, the sheets are passed to the right again. Continue until each person gets his/her own sheet back. Use this activity to open up a discussion about what the group does well and what they’d like to learn or do to help them grow. Record ideas on a flip chart and invite staff to record specific ideas on their own plan. Revisit these plans in a few months and invite staff to share what they’ve learned/accomplished with the larger group.
Outcomes & Goals: What do you want to learn? What new skills do you need to add to your toolbox? How do you want to gain this knowledge and these skills? By when? Don’t just think about these – write them down.
Suggestions: Pick 2 outcomes for yourself. Write out an outcome statement, including specifically what, when/where, and how. Write short-term goals too if that’s helpful. Post your goals where you can see them everyday. If you already have goals written somewhere, jot down a note about your progress. Use this time to reflect, refocus, and reward yourself if you’re on the right track!
Services & Supports: What support do you need to help you reach your outcomes/goals? Who can help you? How often? Again, be specific and don’t be shy about asking for help.
Suggestions: Think about how you learn and how to gain what you need. Would you like to go to a conference or take a class? Is there someone who could be your mentor to help you learn a new ability? Get specific – write the meeting times and locations on your calendar. Secure funding if needed (not easy, I know, but if you don’t look, you can’t find). Block time in your calendar to stay organized or read a new resource each week.
Make yourself a priority by taking the time to think about and plan for how to grow your early intervention practice!
Here’s your first step: Share one thing you want to learn more about in the comments below. If I know of a resource that might help you, I’ll let you know! 🙂