It’s a New Year. Let’s talk about some new things…

…and maybe revive and refresh some of the old things we still love!

Before we get into all of that, I want to thank all of you for your support of MAP. Each year, I reflect on how wonderful it has been to provide information and resources to help our Autism community. We strive to grow, branch out in new directions and find more ways to build our MAP community. We will be continuing in our efforts in 2022 and thank you for joining us on our journey.

Now, let’s talk about some new things and the old things we still love. Here are some of the things on my mind and are great ways to kick off 2022:

Create a vision board for the year!

I got this idea from a lifestyle and wellness coach I love. Most of the topics are meant to target anti-aging and preventive health strategies, however, I have adapted the information and it can easily apply to anyone or situation. The vision board is one I find particularly versatile.

I am always looking for activities and after-school projects to help Maci progress in her developmental goals that are also fun and don’t feel like more work for her. The vision board is just that simple. It helps with visual supports, gross and fine motor planning, provides feelings of competency, comfort, control and communication. It is a project the whole family can do together maybe even the dogs (ha ha!).

I found a great website, the Artful Parent, to help get you started. It offers some wonderful additional ideas for art projects.

How do I make my own vision board?

Your own vision board will be unique to you, pulling on your past experience and future goals. Here are 8 easy steps to creating your own 2022 vision board:

  1. Review and reflect on the past year. What did you accomplish? What were you proud of? What did you struggle with? What do you wish you had done?
  2. Set goals and prioritize for the coming year. How do you wish to see yourself at the end of next year? What changes do you want to make in your life? What things make you happy? What do you want to do more of? Less of?
  3. Find images and words that reflect your vision board. Of course, the internet is ripe with all types of images. Magazines, too, are a fun to scour and clip out. If you are artistic, make your own images and drawings.
  4. Create a Basic Structure. Your board can be as big or small as you’d like it to be.
  5. Assemble the Vision Board. I recommend laying everything out be for you start affixing your artwork to make sure the end product provides the best layout of your vision for the year.
  6. Glue Everything Together.
  7. Embellish! Glitter. Ribbons. Stamps. Stickers. Stars. Make the board reflect your personality.
  8. Display Your Board. Put your board in a place where you will see it every day – to remind you of your vision for the year.

Have you built a team wheel?

While typically a team wheel is used in a management setting, it can be adapted to your family life as well. My team wheel is comprised of all the areas and people we need to support us and Maci. It’s been a vital tool to keep things rolling smoothly and to keep us functioning well. The analogy of the wheel is that each spoke represents the areas of support, people and organizations we need and have as our team. Again, your wheel will look much different from mine or anyone else’s.

Examples of spokes for your wheel may be: doctors, therapists, school teachers or other education professionals, lawyers, financial advisors, caregivers, etc. Resources could include all the categories we list for you at MAP.

The wheel is a living entity. Each year I reflect and reevaluate if our wheel represents what we need now. What worked well last year? Do we need to make any changes? Sometimes based on Maci’s growth and progress what worked for her last year maybe doesn’t fit for us any longer and we need to go in a different direction.

Other times, something new may land in our laps and we add it into our wheel. The team wheel helps me to organize and analyze our team. It is great to do at the beginning of the year to establish a path for the remainder of the year.

How do I build my team wheel?

  1. Go to MAP
  2. List the areas that represent your spokes and make up your team
  3. Search for people and organizations
  4. Use Pinterest to keep track of ideas
  5. Evaluate and  continue to reevaluate.

Focus on nutrition and new recipes

As you start a new year, think of the simple things that year after year keep life working well. For me it is nutrition. The foods and the recipes I go to make life easier and stay healthy.

I have found some great items that I love for those times when I need a quick way to make dinner, lunch for school or a snack. They are healthy, easy and delicious.

  1. Siete Grain Free Tortillas – These are awesome! Made with almond flour, cassava or chickpea flour. Vegan and paleo. I love them for everything, Quesadillas, tacos, homemade chips. This company also makes tasty tortilla chips.
  2. Caulipower pizza crusts – Frozen pizza crusts work so well for a quick go-to lunch or dinner option. Load up with fresh veggies and protein for a great and easy, healthy meal.
  3. Mary’s Gone Crackers – Organic, gluten-free and non-GMO. Fantastic for all snacking. Made with brown rice, quinoa, flax seeds. sesame seeds and sea salt. I cannot live without these crackers.
  4. Hope Hummus – the main important ingredient not found in this hummus is safflower oil. Safflower oil is found in many ingredients and in most hummus’. The problem with safflower oil is its inflammatory aspects and polyunsaturated fatty acids – which are not easily processed. Hope Hummus has all natural ingredients.
  5. Lara Bars – for the sweet tooth, this is a great option. Most (and possibly all) granola type bars are filled with ALOT of sugars and preservatives. Lara bars are only natural ingredients. Made with organic dates and only one or two other ingredients, these bars the best choice for a great snack or dessert option.

Finally, if you are looking for great information on healthy foods or recipes, get some great ideas I enjoy the Paleo Magazine, The Complete Guide to Paleo. Every issue offers recipes, information on paleo foods and the health benefits of foods.

What are your go-to, start-the-year-off-right strategies? Share them with us! And we’d love to see your vision board and team wheel.

– Marikay

Marikay Cuthill is mother of Maci, a vibrant, curious 16-year-old on the Autism Spectrum, and the founder of Maci And Pebble, a community dedicated to helping people navigate autism by finding answers, direction and peace of mind. Learn more at

Get vetted autism resources delivered to your inbox every month. Subscribe to our free newsletter!