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Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”  — Benjamin Franklin, Author, Inventor & Diplomat

A new year approaches! How will you make the most of it and you? It is time for change; here are some SeekFreaks suggestions for your consideration. Start small but let us be bold and persistent!

  1. Make a deliberate plan to stick with any change I manage to make! If we get progress on anything on this list, then some time should be spent in developing strategies to keep it going.
    • What can keep our efforts moving forward? Develop a step-wise plan.
    • Identify an accountability partner or group? Set specific goals and tell someone.
    • Add a goal to our professional development plan at work, or establish a professional development plan, even if work does not require it!
    • Find a mentor?
    • Schedule time for ‘it’ each week or month? Journal.
  2. Attempt challenge, face a fear or insecurity! All of us have something we have thought about trying but avoid because we think we may not do well or others might find fault with our efforts. Use this new year to do something difficult!
    • Make an attempt to do something new (Tim Gunn just took up fencing at 62!)
    • Submit a proposal for a session at a professional conference.
    • Become a mentor.
    • Contact an academic to discuss an idea you have for a research question or article.
    • Come on, let’s get Freaky!! There is nothing to lose but a little pride (which is good for the soul) and an opportunity…
  3. Get creative! Find a way to get your inner artist into your work. Are there form layouts to improve? Templates to create to disseminate information? Data collection systems to create?Respond to work challenges with beauty, color, elegant design and pleasing organization.
  4. Connect in a new way! Do you want a group to discuss evidence and articles?
    • Join your professional association’s school group (APPT, AOTA, ASHA)! Find one or create one (use your state chapter of APTA, AOTA or ASHA, or Academy Special Interest Groups to get started).
    • Resolve to leave at least one comment at the end of every SeakFreaks post you read.
    • Join SeekFreaks Facebook Group and participate in discussions and polls.
    • Start to follow someone on twitter or try snapchat.
    • Volunteer for a workgroup or subcommittee for your state chapter of APTA, AOTA or ASHA.
  5. Learn something new!
  6. Forgive someone! Has someone wronged you at work? Irritated you, no end? Can you improve that relationship or forgive? Check out Blink…can you focus on one of four ‘Horsemen’ Malcom Gladwell identifies as responsible for relationship “apocalypse”: Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt, and Stonewalling. On which ‘Horseman’ do you rely? Can you eliminate one?
  7. Stop arriving/being late! Understand this habit is disrespectful and squanders others time, don’t procrastinate, find ways to effectively use time when you arrive early, sleep well, wake early, BE REALISTIC ABOUT HOW LONG THINGS TAKE (you cannot hypertravel yet, it does take time to gather your needed stuff and walk from your car into the school, factor in time for traffic, getting gas, getting coffee…), stay organized- if you are prepared you can afford to be flexible, always schedule in buffer time (15-20 minutes).
  8. Be a healthy role model! Are you modeling good health behaviors to your students, peers and family?
    • Go to the doctor regularly, eat well, take time for yourself, exercise regularly, manage stress, get sufficient sleep get outdoors and hydrate.
    • If not, pick ONE or TWO of these things to address in 2017.
    • Set two specific goals and check on your progress monthly.
    • Talk about these habits, your struggles and ways you find success.
  9. See something different! Travel, if possible.
    • Can you save up for the Innovations conference (Academy of Pediatric PT, school-based PT conference)? It will be in Washington, DC July 14&15 (It moves around the nation each July).
    • How about APPTAC 2017 in Cincinnati, OH November 17-19?
    • Attend the AOTA Annual Conference and Centennial Celebration from March 30-April 2 in Philly?
    • How about ASHA School Connect on July 7-9? It’s in New Orleans – so you might as well enjoy Creole and Cajun cuisine, Jazz music and the party.
    • Or if that is not realistic, can you find another therapist in a neighboring school district or another school to observe/shadow? It is always good to see another professional’s approach. While you might not see anything new, you may get validation which is also critical!
    • Or bring that something different to your practice? Organize a workshop with your peers and invite an expert from another region.
  10. Employ an app or tool to get organized! Invest part of your day in planning and organizing. Explore apps and tools that can assist you. I am sure all SeekFreaks are listmakers and schedulers extraordinare…can you schedule a day for sorting, labeling/organizing, de-cluttering and/or filing? It is not just about having ‘it’, you must be accessing ‘it’ for ‘it’ to be of value.
  11. Add a skill! Is there a part of your professional or personal life you want to gain competence? –
  12. Read more! We all probably spend too much time in front of screens.

This SeekFreak is making purposeful plans to address resolution # 1, 3, 8 (already underway) and 12 (12 is part of 8 for me!). I look forward to your comments to see who resolves with me for 2017 and for which resolution!

Happy 2017, we hope it brings you health, good work and peace!!

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IEP 4.0: Collaborative Progress Monitoring

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