Can a builder build a house without a plan? The answer is yes, and also no. Yes, he could build a house without a plan, but it may not look like it should. It may not have the correct measurements, or have enough rooms. No, the house would not be the one he wanted, or he may get frustrated with the building process because many problems would occur due to lack of planning. A house is a large task to complete. It would be logical to use a plan or set goals in order to accomplish this huge task. The same is true for completing smaller tasks, such as pass a test, or finish school. It is easier to accomplish a goal when you put it on paper. Visualization makes it easier to put all of the pieces together.
Goal setting can be a challenge in itself for children with learning disabilities. The ability to plan ahead along with distractions can become discouraging. There are ways to help children, as well as adults with learning disabilities set achievable goals. Open ended questions about their dreams can be asked in order to receive a complete response as opposed to a closed response question. For example:
Open Ended: What did you eat for lunch today? This question would require a dialogued response.
Closed Ended: Did you eat lunch today? This question would only require a yes or no.
Do not be surprised if the child says that he wants to be a doctor, but does poorly in math and science. Take this opportunity to encourage the child to do better in math and science. It would be a big mistake to belittle the dream of becoming a doctor. Instead, suggest other occupations, such as nurse or assistant. These should be offered as options. Let the child know the educational requirements needed to accomplish a large goal such as a doctor. Your job is to encourage accomplishments, not crash their dreams. Once a desired outcome is pinpointed, a goal should be developed that is directly related to the desired outcome. This will serve as motivation to do a better job at accomplishing the goal.