Information for parents of disabled children

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Documentation? Of What?

Oh, how often do parents feel this is how schools are responding to them when they ask for daily record keeping! Truth is that we're running into a lack of professional standards in Southern Indianapolis. I don't know about the rest of the state, but documentation here is overall dismal.

Parents can more effectively ask for documentation if they know exactly what they want. Today, I intend to walk you through a fictional scatter plot. It's written for little Johnny Smith:
We want to figure out why Johnny is getting all hitty with his teachers. The plot simply defines the activities of the days with corresponding boxes to be checked quickly. They are marked x for severe aggression, / for mild aggression, and blacked out for no aggression in that time period. You can quantify this, if you like going from 0 to 5 instances, 5 to 10, etc. At the top, you fill in blanks with student information. The respondent is the chart keeper or keeper's identity. When defining the behaviors, be concise and specific. In this case, aggression is further defined as hitting, biting and kicking.

What do we determine about little Johnny's day from the data before us? Well, he does NOT like lunchtime, and recess is no picnic. He had two days of near angelic goodness in the middle of the week. We have a pattern.

The teacher takes this data, or should, and can collaborate with others to determine why Johnny can't eat in peace. Did I mention Johnny's sensory issues? We should look at those. How are his relationships with staff? When the teacher really scrutinized Johnny's day, here's what she noticed.

The noise in the cafeteria really wound him up. He grew more agitated, until Sally, the T.A. working with him, got flustered and out of sorts. When really watching, she noticed more, like Sally really didn't seem to like Johnny and couldn't handle him with any sensitivity to his condition. Further, Sally had a cold for two days and missed school mid-week. Hmm. Did we just find two correctable problems?

Data helps parents track their child's condition, and it makes for excellent professional review. Parents may have to push like the dickens to get this in place and make schools adhere to it. But say you have a non-verbal student, how valuable would this chart be? These are standard tools, so if you meet resistance in the classroom, an explanation would easily be in order from administrators as to why this is too hard to implement. Honestly, how hard is it to check a box?
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1 comment:

  1. Why won't they do something as simple yet important as this? It boggles my mind.