Goal competence is “the ability to set goals, anticipate probable consequences, and
choose effective lines of action” to reach the desired solution (Trenholm 11).
In order to
appropriately engage in proper goal competence, “a communicator must know what he or she is
trying to achieve, determine the obstacles in the path of that goal, and overcome these obstacles”
Therefore, an overall vision due to a specific want or need is important when
Additionally, gauging success each step of the way is crucial.
or goal success, of behavior can be viewed from two different levels:
process and outcome.
the process level, the question is whether the appropriate behaviors are performed.
outcome level, the question is what the process accomplished”
All goal setters must
be aware of both the process and the outcome as to ensure the goal that they set was properly
The group of people that I have chosen to examine the problems in their goal competency
is parents of autistic children.
“Autism is defined by the presence of difficulties in three areas:
social deficits, communication problems and repetitive or restricted behaviors.
There is no
medical test for diagnosing autism… the diagnosis is based on observed behavior and
educational and psychological testing” (The Arc).
Because of the vague nature of this disease,
therein lies the first problem for parents of autistic children when it comes to goal competency –
The first possible signs of autism can be seen at the age of three, and even then it
is difficult to determine if a child has autism, a different learning disability, or is just slowly
Since it may very well take a few years after child berth to see visible signs of autism,
parents are often blindsided by this and have very little, if any, prior knowledge about how to
handle a child with the disease.
It is only after they have gained first hand experience with an
autistic child can they properly and appropriately set goals, anticipate the consequences and
figure out how to reach their objectives.
This leads to another hindrance of appropriate goal
competency in parents of autistic children (or PAC’s).
By denial, and the belief that their child
doesn’t have autism and that the signs must be from something else, parents fail to get a head
start on future visions and goals for their kids.
This may stem from the fact that parents fail to
realize the prevalence of autism.
“It is estimated that 1 in every 110 children is diagnosed with
autism (and 1 in 70 boys), making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and
pediatric AIDS combined” (The Arc).
Autism affects more individuals than common knowledge
would suggest and this lack of awareness can hurt goal competency in PAC’s.
Once parents do gain knowledge and awareness of their child’s disease, they immediately