Thursday, 19 April 2018

This company wants to replace braille with a controversial new font Meet ELIA, a new tactile reading system.

Meet ELIA, a new tactile reading system. Learning to read and write was a challenge for Louis Braille. While many kids struggle to read, Braille was blinded at the age of three by an infection following an accident in his father’s leathering workshop. Unable to see words on the page, his best chance at literacy was at his fingertips—literally. Frustrated by existing communication options (most blind people used the Haüy system, where Latin letters were embossed in paper), Braille set about developing his own tactile writing system when he was still a child. By the age of 15, he’d created a simple, efficient system of dots and spaces contained in compact cells that allowed a reader to comprehend each letter in a single touch. Since its creation in 1829, braille has remained the predominant tactile communication system in the world. It’s been modified for dozens of languages and allowed countless people to read and write. But braille, which is read by fewer than 10 percent of blind or visually impaired people, is far from perfect. That’s why, almost 200 years after braille was created, Andrew Chepaitis decided to disrupt it. Chepaitis is the president and CEO of ELIA. For almost 20 years, he and his colleagues have been developing a new tactile learning system that was more intuitive and accessible than braille. “The reason Braille used dots was because the easiest way to create a tactile alphabet was to take the point of a pen and push into a piece of paper,” says Chepaitis. “That was great. That was a revolution.” But, he argues, technology has advanced beyond pen and paper, so tactile fonts should, too. Chepaitis has thrown out braille’s dots in favor of a system of raised symbols form from curved and straight lines. Whereas braille was loosely based on a military code, ELIA mimics the shape of typical English characters wherever possible. An ELIA C looks almost identical to the C seen in the standard alphabet, except the ELIA C rises above the paper. But for a letter like W, which a tactile reader could trace in many directions (is it a V? Two Vs? One W?), ELIA has completely transformed the character. In the ELIA system, a W is a small box with a triangle wedge at the bottom, essentially a simplification of the switchback in a standard W. After six years of sustained research on 175,000 participants, ELIA launched its Kickstarter campaign on April 18 to bring attention to their work and raise funds to produce its tactile reading frames. The company also announced it would release a customized HP Inkjet printer for ELIA fonts this fall. A specialized HP Inkjet printer, the machine stimulates a chemical reaction that puffs up the paper in all the right places, allowing a blind reader to feel the letters on the page. With this new technology, Chepaitis hopes to rectify a number of the problems he sees with existing tactile codes. While thousands of people say braille has changed their lives, on a purely statistical level, the code’s impact has been rather limited. Of the 8.4 million people in the United States with a visual impairment, only about 100,000 read braille. Those who are literate in braille are more likely to graduate high school and to secure employment. But the rest of the population continues to struggle.“Most of those who read braille were born blind,” Chepaitis says, “while 99 percent of people who are blind lose their vision later in life.” Unfortunately, it’s harder to learn braille later. The National Federation of the Blind offers courses on braille and other tools for the visually impaired. Each course lasts six to nine months. In that time, the federation says, most people become comfortable using braille in their everyday life, but some will continue to struggle with speed and comprehension. And some never learn braille at all. By building on the standard alphabet, ELIA hopes to meet people who go blind later in life where they’re at. “For them, they’ve invested years in learning the normal alphabet,” Chepaitis says. But the ELIA team has implemented other innovations in the hopes of making their alphabet easier to use, too. ELIA’s font is bigger than standard braille, because the company’s research suggested enhancing the size of the font even by a few millimeters increases reading speeds. The space between each letter is also expanded, again for clarity. These changes mean that, unlike braille, ELIA letters cannot always be read in a single swipe of the finger. But the company says that shouldn’t be a hindrance: the new tactile reading system can be learned in as little as three hours. For all the sweat, tears, and special ink that have gone into ELIA, the system’s success isn’t guaranteed. “I’m not going to sugarcoat it: We are braille advocates in the National Federation of the Blind,” says Chris Danielsen, the federation’s director of public relations. While he thinks ELIA may prove helpful to some individuals, Danielsen remains skeptical of efforts to replace braille. ELIA argues its larger fonts and spacing are better for reading comprehension, but Danielsen contends one of braille’s best attributes is that each letter can be determined in a single touch. There’s also the matter of accessibility when it comes to writing. Right now, people who rely on braille have roughly three options. They can write with an inexpensive stylus, which the federation sells them for just $10 a pop; lug around a six-keyed “brailler”, which is essentially a tactile typewriter; or invest in a specialized printer. ELIA’s own system is a specialized HP Inkjet printer, which debuts later this year. While Chepaitis is excited about the breakthrough design, Danielsen is worried about the price. A $10 stylus is more cost-effective than an inkjet printer, which currently retails around $200 in its standard form. “I can only expect—and respect—people who disagree with us and argue this is not a worthwhile endeavor,” Chepaitis says. Still, he continues to believe ELIA’s potential for good dramatically outweighs the negatives. Chepaitis intends for the ELIA system will increase accessibility and reading speeds among users. He also hopes the printer, which took years of development on its own, to improve tactile photo printing. While braille can communicate some of the contours of an image, like the details of a map, ELIA’s puff ink may have more success. If all goes well kids with visual impairments wouldn’t just read the words in their textbooks—they’d get to feel charts, diagrams, and illustrations. Most of all, Chepaitis sees ELIA as a way of bringing families together. Even if a person with severe visual impairments learns braille, their sighted family members continue to struggle to learn and communicate with them. Because ELIA is based on a standard English alphabet, it can be read both with the fingers and with the eyes. As a result, the company says it's even easier for sighted people to learn than for the visually impaired. “[If] your mom is losing her vision, and she puts the labels on her canned goods, you can read them, too,” Chepaitis says. Whatever becomes of ELIA, one thing seems certain: Braille probably wouldn’t have minded the friendly competition. He once said, “Access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge.” For all the resistance it’s received, ELIA is nothing if not a widening of the communication options for the blind and visually impaired. ni hayo tu kwa sasa for more log on

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

We know about the gender pay gap. But what about the disability pay gap? | #Frances Ryan | Opinion |

Forcing companies to disclose their gender pay gap has been like pulling back the curtain. For the first time, we’re seeing the real picture behind the often-secretive world of pay: one in which every industry from academia and local councils to FTSE companies is underpaying women. As part of this, it has been refreshing to see the impact of race and class on the gender gap discussed, despite the fact the gender audit didn’t include these factors. But disability hasn’t been mentioned at all. In the UK, there is no complex breakdown of disability pay like the gender pay investigation has provided but what we know shows stark inequality. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) 2017 report found that the disability pay gap – the difference between what non-disabled and disabled workers earn – is 13.6%. On top of that, disabled people are significantly more likely to be unemployed, lose a job and be in low-waged work than non-disabled people. We’re also routinely given fewer responsibilities at work and turned down for promotion, or refused the job in the first place Disabled people have been painted as workshy, but what is attributed to choice is largely a product of circumstance Being a disabled woman in the climate of the gender pay gap, then, is like being hit from two sides. Disabled men – particularly those from minority ethnic backgrounds – aren’t immune either, in some ways losing the gender advantage afforded to white non-disabled men. Disabled men from the Bangladeshi community, for example, experience a pay gap of a staggering 56% (compared with non-disabled white British men), according to the EHRC. How can bosses get away with this? As Suzanne Moore points out, women’s unequal pay is justified in a myriad ways: from us not trying for competitive roles, to being “too caring”. Similarly far-fetched excuses are used when it comes to disabled people. Longstanding prejudice around disability – that we are pitiable, stupid or a burden – creates a climate that permits keeping disabled people in low-waged, junior roles. Even the chancellor, Philip Hammond, last year implied disabled workers were less productive, while the idea we should be paid less than non-disabled people is a persistently mainstream opinion (in 2014, the then welfare minister David Freud suggested disabled workers may be “worth” about £2 an hour ). The message is often, “Forget equal pay – if you’re disabled, you should be grateful for having a job at all. In recent years, disabled people have routinely been painted as workshy by politicians and the media, but what is attributed to choice is largely a product of circumstance. Disabled people are more likely to work part-time, in part because of their health needs, exacerbated by the fact that flexible working is often frowned upon by employers. The benefits system, meanwhile, often penalises people too ill for a full-time job but who take on a few hours a week. I’ve always worked full-time but because I need more time off sick or to rest, as well as later starts, I know my earning potential is dwarfed by my non-disabled counterparts. Until we acknowledge the problem, we can’t do anything to fix it. John Lewis, for example, is using the gender pay gap news to talk to their employees about flexible working and barriers to job sharing at management level. This is fantastic and would be ideal if it was to look at how these two measures – perfectly suited to many with health problems – would help disabled employees too. But to really tackle the disability pay gap, we need to look at the wider structural inequalities facing disabled people. We often have to live in inaccessible housing, are cut off from accessible public transport, and are excluded from education, which means a disproportionate number of disabled people don’t get qualifications. (Even qualifications aren’t enough: a graduate with a work-limiting disability is more likely to not have a job than an unqualified person with no disability.) Rather than measures to improve things, the government is currently creating extra barriers: hundreds of people have had their car, which they need to get to the office, removed because of benefit cuts; funds that provide in-work support such as sign language interpreters for deaf people have been reduced; and huge cuts in social care budgets have resulted in disabled people losing the assistant who helps them get dressed in the morning. The gender pay audit means the silence around unequal incomes is finally being broken. Inequality, we are shown, can no longer be hushed away or buried under excuses. Now’s the time to bring disabled workers into the conversation. #ni hayo tu kwa sasa.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Low-Cost Refreshable Braille AKA usomaji wa viduta

CSUN, the annual Assistive Technology Conference, took place this month in sunny San Diego, and again, I participated "virtually," listening to podcastsvia victor stream reader. For readers unfamiliar, CSUN is often a conference where new products, updates, and ideas are first launched in the world of Assistive Technology (AT). Orbit Reader 20 The continued enthusiasm for refreshable braille displays—both low-cost and tablet sized—got my attention. These are not new this year. CSUN attendees will be tantalized by the Orbit Reader 20’s promise of a 20 cell braille display for under $500 and frustrated by the fitful start and stop of production to iron out the kinks. If that is not tempting enough in itself, the Canute by Bristol Braille Technology, a nonprofit based in the U.K., is a nine line, 360 cell braille display, marketed as an e-reader, much like a Kindle. Refreshable Braille Displays Not a New Concept Refreshable braille displays are certainly not new, the first, called BRAILLEX, was developed over 40 years ago, and the technology has changed little since that time. Small pins are pushed up and down mechanically to create the dots in a braille cell. Devices that have braille displays often have as few as 12 to 20 cells on the display. Larger displays of 80 cells are available, but for many, they are cost prohibitive. Typically, a braille cell of six or eight dots depicts one to two characters in a word. As a result, the reader reads several words on the display and refreshes the display to read the next set of words. Historically, both the technology and relatively small market have contributed to the high cost of refreshable braille displays. The Canute The Canute has been in development since 2012, and this is not its first demonstration at CSUN. The difference this year is that this is the 13th prototype and the one that will shortly begin pilot testing with a group of users prior to an anticipated release later this year. A press release issued in January 2018 suggested the retail price may be around $700! Canute by Bristol Braille In brief, the Canute will render braille files (BRF) stored on an SD card in much the same way a sighted reader would open a digital book on a Kindle. Because the Canute will have nine lines of braille with 40 cells in each line, reading on the Canute will be much more like reading from a full page of braille. The Orbit Reader 20 By contrast, the Orbit Reader 20 has a smaller single line of 20 cell braille and offers some limited editing of braille files. Like the Canute, its primary function is to provide a low-cost, portable electronic braille reader. Increasing Access to Braille Around the World What is most compelling about these braille displays and the other ongoing braille projects whose goal is low-cost electronic braille is how likely these devices will increase access to braille around the world. At its most basic level, braille can be created on any heavier stock paper using a slate and stylus that costs less than $15. It is the considerable cost of embossing multi-page documents on electronic braille embossers that cost thousands of dollars or the higher cost of recreating textbooks for students in braille on paper that has dramatically undermined braille in the digital age. For many educators and agencies who work with individual with vision loss, the alternative to teaching and reading braille has been audiobooks and text-to-speech on phones, tablets, and computers. While these alternatives are wonderful tools for accessing print, research suggests that interacting with words, grammar, and spelling with braille and print result in a higher level of literacy than that attained solely through audio tools. Ultimately, these braille displays may reduce the reliance on a braille embosser to produce paper braille and some braille textbooks. It is worth noting that, unlike the Orbit Reader, the Canute currently utilizes a six-dot braille cell which works well for literary braille but will prevent it from being a useful tool for the eight-dot braille (Nemeth code) commonly used in science, mathematics, or computing notation. Additionally, both products have placed a priority on off-the-shelf parts to keep costs low and, presumably, make repairs cheaper and easier. Moving Braille Literacy Forward It is products like the Canute and Orbit Reader 20 that are heralding in a new, market niche for reduced cost braille displays and a consensus among the low vision and blind community that this is a priority for moving braille literacy and braille technology forward. With products like the Orbit Reader and the Canute working their way to the market, both educators and rehab professionals will have access to a greater variety of braille alternatives for readers who are blind or low vision. In a recent interview with ACB Radio Tek Tak Talk, Bill Boules, Blind Rehab Specialist, pointed out that many school-age students with low vision miss the opportunity to learn braille, which may be a more efficient way for them to read because of funding restraints, limited access to braille materials, or a lack of qualified teachers of students with visual impairments. The availability of textbooks and easy access to digital braille from a low-cost refreshable braille device may encourage the use of braille for those students who are able to see print but unable to use it as efficiently as they might use braille to read. Low-cost braille is here, and the newer technology has a few bugs to sort out, but it is here to stay and will dramatically increase reader’s access to braille. Imagine for a moment, what might happen if the braille e-readers become as popular and available among braille readers as the Kindle? #Kenya will join this league soon! the ministry of education has a long way to go to ensure blind persons like me are able to access information on time and available just like the sighted peers.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Our care of people with disabilities remains an unfulfilled desire

The world grieves the demise of Stephen Hawking, who lived with a motor neuron disease for practically all his adult life. Prof Hawking had a prominent career in astrophysics. He defeated not only conventional knowledge but also disability. In the foreword to the World Report on Disability by Unicef, he attributed this to his access to medical care and the fact that his house and workplace had been made accessible to him. Computer experts supported him with a communication system and a speech synthesiser that allowed him to compose lectures and papers and to communicate with relative ease. The International Paralympics Committee (IPC) paid tribute to Prof Hawking during the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Paralympics last month. The IPC president lauded him as an “extraordinary man and a pioneer for all people with an impairment around the world. He embodied the word ability more than anyone.” Prof Hawking was a living testimony of the heights that a person with disability can rise to if given the opportunity to do so. Have we given Kenyans with disabilities this opportunity? What is the situation in Kenya? INCONSISTENT LAWS AND POLICIES A few years ago, I encountered an amazing centre for children with disabilities in Ongata Rongai. The Orione Centre houses close to 100 mentally disabled children. It is beautifully constructed and maintained. One sees a lot of love and sacrifice behind each wall. At this facility, these children, who had been rejected by their families and society, found a purpose in life. They learn to cultivate a shamba, to sign, to laugh and to love. But Orione also faced a dramatic reality. Laws and policies are largely inconsistent and not executed. Our care of people with disabilities has so far been a mere wish, an unfulfilled desire. In Kenya, the rights of the disabled are enshrined in three main laws. First, the 2010 Constitution. Second, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted by the United Nations in 2006 and ratified by Kenya in 2008. Third, the Persons with Disabilities Act of 2003, which is a legal framework for access to services and inclusion. Additionally, the disabled are mentioned in at least 65 other Acts of Parliament, dealing with basic rights, education, equality of opportunity, sexual offenses, the right to vote, etc. SIGN LANGUAGE CO-ANCHOR The Constitution mentions the term “disability/disabilities” at least 15 times. It is defined to include “any physical, sensory, mental, psychological or other impairment, condition or illness that has, or is perceived by significant sectors of the community to have, a substantial or long-term effect on an individual’s ability to carry out ordinary day-to-day activities.” The Constitution requires the state to promote the development and use of sign language, Braille and other communication formats and technologies accessible to people with disabilities. It has become quite common for the main television networks to have a sign language co-anchor during news broadcasts. While this is an important step in the right direction, I wonder whether the tiny window that usually appears at the bottom right corner is adequate for the targeted audience. Maybe this solution was appropriate for the long-gone analogue times. I sometimes wonder if this approach may be turning the deaf people blind from squinting at their TV screens during the entire news broadcast. Some innovation is definitely necessary to ensure that at least the popular TV shows are accessible to the deaf. EASY ACCESSIBILITY The Constitution imposes a duty on all State organs and public officers to address the needs of vulnerable groups within society, including the disabled. While the needs of the disabled are varied and on a wide spectrum, there is no excuse for the absence of a legislative and policy framework on this aspect of our society. How many public buildings and offices, even within the city of Nairobi, are easily accessible to the disabled? And by easy accessibility, one would think of appropriate ramps, “functional” elevators, sufficient reserved parking slots, dedicated service stations/counters, reserved washrooms, etc. If the traffic light system were allowed to work in the streets, there would be a need for sound devices to assist the blind in crossing roads. As things stand now, a blind man in Nairobi is a dead man walking. The state should not discriminate directly or indirectly against any person on any ground, including disability. A person with disability is entitled under the Constitution to be treated with dignity and respect and to be addressed and referred to in a manner that is not demeaning. MATERIALS AND DEVICES People with disabilities are entitled to access educational institutions and facilities for the disabled that are integrated into society to the extent compatible with the interests of the person. They are also entitled to reasonable access to all places, public transport and information and appropriate means of communication. Further, they are entitled to access materials and devices to overcome constraints arising from their disability. The Constitution also requires the State to ensure the progressive implementation of the principle that at least five per cent of members of the public in elective and appointive bodies are people with disabilities. According to a 2014 survey conducted by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) Jitolee, one in every 10 Kenyans below the age of 21 is disabled. The survey also indicated that more than 16 per cent of children with disabilities were out of school while 18.4 per cent of children and youth with disabilities were either total or partial orphans. The most prevalent condition was multiple disabilities at 31 per cent, visual impairment at 20 per cent, hearing impairment at 10 per cent and physical impairment at nine per cent. In another national survey for people with disabilities conducted in 2015, more than three million people in Kenya were living with disabilities. PLIGHT UNADDRESSED The Constitution contains a great promise for the disabled but sadly the plight of such people continues to be left unaddressed. There is a lot that our society needs to work on, including implementation of legal and policy frameworks to facilitate access to health, education and services for them. There are some pretty innovative solutions that have been implemented in some cities across the world that could work in Kenya. For instance, Seattle has a sidewalk mapping app that has details on ramps and dropped kerbs, making it easier for people with disabilities to navigate easily. Singapore launched its universal design principles drawn by its Building Construction Authority in 2007. The principles have encouraged accessibility. In Sonoma County, California, a housing project was specifically designed to address the special needs of people living with autism who are hypersensitive to sound, light and movement. The fittings and décor in the homes reduce sensory stimulation and clutter while noise is kept to the minimum, courtesy of thoughtful design. We may have many Hawkings in Kenya and in East Africa. We will never know, unless we give them a chance. The time has come to harmonise disability laws, policy and reality…to walk the talk and put hand to broom, sweeping away any inconsistencies in our laws and our practices. this article was written by Dr Louise Franceschi

Monday, 2 April 2018

Universal health coverage hurdles in Kenya AKA vizingiti vya Afya kwa wote nchini

President Uhuru Kenyatta has made affordable healthcare one of his Big Four Agenda for his final term. This wouldn’t have come at a better time since the world is heading towards universal healthcare. Universal healthcare focuses on access to quality services for citizens of all social classes. This requires bold discussions around the key pillars of an effective health system as defined by World Health Organisation. A well-functioning health system responds in a balanced way to a population’s needs and expectations by: Improving the health status of individuals, families and communities; defending the population against what threatens its health; protecting people against the financial consequences of ill-health; providing equitable access to people-centred care; making it possible for people to participate in decisions affecting their health and health system. The WHO has identified six key components of a well-functioning health system as: Leadership and governance, health financing, human resources for health, health information systems, essential medical products and technologies, service delivery. All this components must perform optimally for the realisation of Universal Health care access. In health financing Kenya ranks position 140 out of 190 in the WHO Ranking of the World's Health Systems. The difference between us and leading countries is health financing. This has greatly affected other components such as human resources, essential medical products and technologies and, ultimately, service delivery. The WHO provides for minimum staffing norms, which were customised in the August 2014 Human Resources for Health Staffing Norms and Standards by the Ministry of Health. This was to be achieved by employment of 12,000 health workers per year for four years, but the government has since employed only 15,000 in four years. As the period for the staffing guidelines expire at the end of year, we are nowhere near compliance with minimum staffing standards. According to the guidelines, we were supposed to have 16,278 clinical officers, 13,141 doctors and 38,315 nurses in public health sector employment against the current 6,000 clinical officers, 5000 doctors and 25,000 nurses. We are nowhere close the 50 per cent minimum staffing standards. This may be a contributor to the medical errors recently at Kenyatta National Hospital, where staff are overworked and fatigued. The ideal minimum health worker to population ratio should be 23 health workers to 10,000 Kenyans or 40 clinical officers per 100,000 Kenyans, 32 doctors per 100,000 Kenyans or 95 nurses per 100,000 Kenyans. The shortage of essential medical products in our public facilities is one that cannot be ignored. Kenyans fly to India for cancer treatment and many patients die waiting for the only radiation machine at KNH that sometimes breaks down for weeks. Most patients visiting county hospitals are forced to buy drugs from private chemists as medicines are out of stock most of the time, coupled with long queuing hours to see a clinician. Access to highest attainable standards of health is a constitutional right under Article 43 ( 1 )(a) and therefore Kenyans have a right to ask their elected leaders to account on facilitation. The government through parliament should increase health financing in the 2018-19 budget to at least 10 per cent to ensure the human resources for health staffing norms and standards are met and that essential medical products and technologies are optimised to ensure equitable access of health care services to all Kenyans. for more

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Career path AKA njia ya mfuatilizo wa kazi

Unless you are able to see the future, there is no way you can fully control the path of your career. There are way too many factors that you simply can’t control. Things like economic trends, the political environment, advances in technology – not to mention personal life events, like getting married, divorced, or having children – all have the potential to influence choices that you make about your career. There are, however, a few things you can do that will put you in a good position for success, regardless of what life throws at you. Do Some Reflection One of the most important things you can do as part of mapping a career is to really understand yourself. Learn to recognise your strengths and weaknesses. What do you like doing? What are you passionate about? What is the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning? What are your values and beliefs – the things that you will never compromise, no matter what? Think about your skills, knowledge and experience. What skills do you have that are transferrable between different jobs? What specialised skills have you gained? What are your dreams and aspirations?Consider how you can capitalise on your strengths and overcome any weaknesses you might have identified. It’s important to understand what it is you want out of a career too. Not everybody has aspirations to be a high powered executive. Think about what is important for you to be happy in your work. Maybe you want flexibility so that you balance family obligations. Perhaps it’s important to you to be doing a job that helps people or that somehow gives back to the community. Remember – we spend almost one third of our lives working, so it’s important that we do work that is fulfilling and makes us happy.Your self-reflection might take a bit of time – it’s a lot to think about! It’s helpful to spend time considering these elements and writing them down. Make lists of the things you discover about yourself and the sorts of things you’d like to do. Writing things down is very beneficial to clarifying the direction in which you’d like take your career. Consider your Options Once you have a better understanding of your strengths, values and aspirations, it’s time to start thinking about the types of jobs that will suit you. This can be quite tricky, as the jobs we may have thought we’d like don’t always match with our strengths, skills, and preferences. It’s hugely important to consider any potential career in the context of your values, beliefs and personality. Check out various employment websites and job advertisements online to get an understanding of the types of jobs available. If there are particular types of organisations that you think you’d like to work for as a result of your personal reflection, check if they advertise their job vacancies on their company website. You might even consider reaching out to an organisation to ask them the sorts of things they look for in their employees. Or even offer to volunteer to get a feel for what it would be like to work there.It can also be helpful to talk to a careers counsellor or coach when considering your options. They won’t find you a job or tell you exactly what career path you should follow. But, they will work with you to help you identify what sort of roles fit with the skills, values and beliefs you have identified in your self-reflection exercise.Add your list of potential jobs or careers to you lists from your self-reflection exercise, and review all the information regularly – at least once or twice a year – to see what has changed and check your progression. Set Goals Once you have considered the career options available to you and identified what direction you want to take, it’s time to start setting some goals.  Set ‘SMART’ objectives to accomplish your short and long term goals. There are a few variations of what SMART objectives should address, but the important thing is to set them so that you can measure your progress - measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound.S – Identify your goal clearly and specifically. Make them significant, and stretchingM – Make your goals meaningful, motivational and measurable. Make sure they include clear criteria to determine progress and accomplishment.A –  Your goals should be action-orientated and attainable. There should be a 50 percent or greater chance of success.R – Ensure goals are realistic, rewarding, result-orientated and relevant to you personally.T –Set specific timeframes for your goals and ensure they are tangible and trackable. Map Your Path Developing your career really is a journey. Map your pathway just like you would any other adventure. Identify your starting point and your preferred ‘destination’, (i.e. what you want to achieve with your career), and figure out what you need to do to get there. What are the milestones you need to arrive at along the way, and how will you make progress towards each?A careers counsellor coach can be really helpful for mapping your path. They are terrific for helping you build a career roadmap, supporting you to create long term goals and the milestones you need to achieve in order to accomplish your them. They will also help keep you accountable to the goals you have set. Be Flexible One of the few things in life that is certain is change. When thinking about your career, be open to change and diverting your path to accommodate opportunities and challenges that pop up. The world in which we live is changing constantly, and as you continue to learn and grow and gain more experience, your preferences and the options available to you will shift accordingly. Part of being a successful professional is the ability to remain nimble, flexible, and responsive to your surrounding environment. Be open to new experiences and opportunities as they arise. You never know where something unexpected might lead. Reference