Goals for goals!

Step one to helping our clients achieve their goals is writing a great goal for them to be successful! This can be a tedious job, as goals and objectives are intended to be precise, detailed targets. There many components to a solid goal, and each are equally important and serve a unique role. There are goal-writing checklists that can be adapted to any client and population to help us create goals that are rational and intentional.

The SMART goal checklist guides the writer through the major pieces of creating a goal. According to SMART, goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time limited. The infographic below provides a bit more information about each part.

SMART goals

Let’s look at the following goal:

By December 2018, Client A will improve cognition skills by improving sustained attention through playing an instrument for 2 consecutive minutes without stopping in 3 out of 4 trials with minimal prompting (no more than 1 verbal, gestural, or physical prompt).

First is the time deadline, which is when the goal is to be achieved by. This could vary by setting. Hospitals might have shorter time frames, schools will probably line up with IEPs. In this case, the client and therapist are aiming to achieve this goal in December of 2018.

After assessing the client, we identify the specific goal area (e.g. cognitive, motor, speech, etc.), and add details of the desired skill/behavior. Do we want it to increase, decrease, maintain functioning? This describes the what of the goal. In this case, it’s cognition skills through sustained attention.

Then, we can look at the how. How are we going to help the client achieve this goal? What means of exercise or intervention will we use? And how often will they participate? Out of how many trials will they be successful? This is where we think about measurability and achievability. Here, the how is ‘playing an instrument for 2 consecutive minutes.’

Along with these components, we must also include our type and level of prompting. The prompting in this goal would be ‘minimal prompting’, and the three types of prompts to choose from are verbal, gestural, and physical. Don’t forget about the option of independency! Our purpose is to help the client achieve the highest level of independence possible, so aiming for independence is the ultimate achievement.

“Big goals are important. You should always have a clear vision of where you would ultimately like [the client] to be. But be sure to set a number of smaller goals along the way. Accomplishment drives ambition.”

– Beau Taplin

– Patty

Autism Speaks Walk 2016

We had a blast this morning at the Autism Speaks Walk! I cannot imagine a better way to spend my last day of internship. It was an honor to join in with this amazing community, advocating for individuals with autism. Moreover, it was an honor to perform on stage with The Kingsmen, The Yakety Yaks, and members of the Jam Session program. These talented teens and young adults showed me and everyone at the walk what it looks to overcome stage fright, to work hard, to be an amazing team member, to be proud of your accomplishments, and to HAVE FUN!

Check out these awesome musicians!

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  • Chiara

 

Blog post – Music, the brain, and Aesthetics

Music, the brain, and Aesthetics

While studying the different ways our brain processes music and music learning, one interesting concept that I came across was that we all have a preconceived cognitive schema, not only for music, but for just about just about everything else. A schema shapes our expectations about how a certain thing should be. In simple terms, a schema is our familiarity with a particular subject. We all probably have our own schema of music. When some of us here the word “music” we might think of the latest top 40 charts, such as Wrecking Ball, and some of us might think of a Beethoven symphony. A schema is important because it frames our understanding and our interpretation of familiar aesthetic objects.

This concept is greatly applicable to music therapy. From the moment I first read about music therapy, I had a schema formed for what I thought the profession was, and it’s incredible to look back and see how much that schema has been altered and changed already. It’s safe to say that after starting my internship here, my schema for music therapy is completely different than it was before, and is  still constantly changing.

Mark