Each time when I meet with families, we talk about the progress their child is making on their objectives. I start by asking parents to provide me with information on the successes they have seen in their child over the past few weeks. Sometimes the progress is measured in the smallest fraction of an inch, and at other times the child makes multiple inches of progress. Whether the progress is small or large, we view that as success. As the title of this article states, progress is measured in inches – not miles. I view every little success as adding up to inches that turn into miles.
There are times when families feel as though they are stuck and not making much progress. I will admit that sometimes the progress is really slow, but more often than not progress is being made; it just may not be in the area we are focusing on. I have parents come in to meet with me and report, “We don’t really feel like we have made progress on our objective”; and then they state, “Johnny is now fully potty trained.” Wow, that is huge progress in a month’s time; it just wasn’t progress on the specific objective we were targeting. It can be really difficult sometimes to take that step back and find the progress; but I can guarantee that unless the child has been really ill or no work at all has been done, there will be some progress made.
I do occasionally have families who come in to meet with me and report that they really haven’t done much since our last session. Being a parent can be really tough; it is easy to get bogged down in the day to day of life, and forget to do those things that will help your child move forward. This is the time when we make a plan to refocus, and determine the 1-2 things they can do each day to help them move forward.
At other times, I have parents who get so focused on doing things right, that they forget that our lives are about progress, not perfection. I’m not looking for perfection in my families; I’m looking for families who put their best foot forward, and make an effort. When families discover that remediation isn’t about achieving perfection but about finding their own “good enough,” tremendous progress is made.
One of the favorite parts of my job is doing update assessments with my client families. This is such a great time for families and me to pause, and to take a look at all of the progress that has been made over the past number of months. Sometimes when you are living it day to day, it can be really hard to see the progress; but when we pause and look back, we are amazed to see what has been accomplished. I recently read a book that stated, “Progress is evolutionary, not revolutionary.” I love that statement, and feel like it perfectly describes the work that our families are doing every day. Each child’s progress is slowly evolving, not radically changing.
I know that I personally like change over time, not drastic immediate change. It is much easier to appreciate and accept the change when it happens over time. Slowly evolving change will also be longer lasting, and have greater effect. For the families I work with, slow changes add up to a better quality of life for the child and the family as a whole. We learn to measure progress in inches, not miles!