All young people with SEND should have hopes and dreams for the future. You might also call them goals, wishes or aspirations.
Some hopes and dreams might be big and long-term. Others might be smaller and possible to achieve more quickly. Your young person's hopes and dreams could be:
- Having a job and earning money
- Having good friends. Or maybe a closer relationship with someone
- Being part of the community, and making choices about what to do with their free time
- Living independently in their own home, and decorating it how they like
- Being able to travel in the local community, and maybe overseas
- Having good health and mental wellbeing
Planning for hopes and dreams
Watch this video on Youtube 'Picture my future: Using pictures to explore hopes and dreams'.
Hopes and dreams are important because they give us a direction or focus in life. If we know what we are aiming for, we are more likely to get there.
- If you get in a car and don’t know where you are heading, you will drive around aimlessly and never actually reach anywhere. That is why planning is important
- If you do not have a shopping list, you might buy things that you do not need and wasting money. You will also waste time, if you need to return to get things you've forgotten
- When you go on holiday, you need to think about the place you are visiting. Will it be hot, cold or wet? What is there is to do? This will help you know what clothes to pack
You probably do all these things in your everyday life, without even thinking about it!
Encouraging your young person to have hopes and dreams
Knowing your young person’s hopes and dreams, may help you understand what skills they need to develop and learn to be independent.
Every parent/carer wants their young person to be happy and have some sort of independence. For some young people with SEND, independence might be choosing what shoes they like to wear. For other young people it will be picking a flat they want to live in. Both things have something in common. Your young person is making a choice and acting upon it. They can have some control over what happens to them. They can make choices.
It can sometimes feel a bit scary to think about long-term goals. However most of these can be broken down into smaller more manageable steps.
Planning for change
Although it is important to plan for your young person's future, you need to be ready to change plans too. It can be hard to change plans if a lot of time and effort have gone into them.
For example, you might have spent a lot of time planning for your young person to do football on a Saturday. Your young person really likes going to football too. Then a volunteering opportunity for your young person comes up on the same day. This is a good chance for your young person to gain work experience. Both activities are important for your young person.
It is a difficult choice for your young person to give up their football, to do the volunteering. The dilemma is that work experience does not come up very often for a young person with SEND. However there are more chances to play football.
Help with planning ahead
The preparing for adult life section of our SEND Local Offer, has been designed to help you talk to your young person. You can then plan how to turn their hopes and dreams into reality.