Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Family Report

A few months back, I posted a suggestion that parents might want to compose and take a written report with them to school planning meetings. I provided some suggestions about what that report might include. Your may want to refer back to that post called Writing a Family Report to take to Planning Meetings
after you read this excellent example of a Family Report--particularly if you decide to write one for your child.

This report was sent to me by a mom who has been using suggestions from Autism Games Web site and found several games that have worked for her daughter. She was also getting Birth-to-Three home based services for several months before this report was written. She wrote a Family Report for the school meeting held before her daughter moved from home based services to classroom services. She felt that the report helped her feel prepared for the meeting and reported that the school professionals appreciated learning about her daughter in this way. At the top of the report was a photograph of her daughter, Anna:

Anna– Age 2 ½

Parent Report – 2008

Progress of Intervention Since Summer of 2007

  1. Strategies that have worked well in teaching Anna:
    1. Showing pictures to explain new ideas or situations.

This can be in several forms: repetitive viewing of a video (especially with music), board books (especially interactive ones with flaps or sounds), photos of actual items, places or activities arranged into a schedule or social story that is repeated many times before the situation occurs. A couple of examples include some books I read to her often to familiarize her with words/concepts dealing with school (such as school classroom, teacher, bus, friends, backpack) and a book my mother made her to let her know what to expect at an upcoming visit they were planning because there was going to be a lot happening.

    1. Drawing pictures to explain things.

Watching people draw focuses her attention. I have recently used this method of drawing faces to help explain emotions.

    1. Family Dolls.

These are paper dolls made with photos of each family member on Popsicle sticks. These can be used to help her recognize/name people (she just recently learned to say ‘mama’ using this method) and to help her visualize herself doing things she may find undesirable or that she doesn’t understand. For example, at the zoo this summer she loved to ride the train. However, she would only ride the green car. She would have horrible fits about it. I was able to get her to voluntarily choose the yellow car instead using these dolls. These dolls could be made to help her relate to any important people.

    1. Singing songs to accompany an activity to get her to participate.

Some places we use songs are for cleaning up, washing hands and sitting on the potty.

    1. Physical activity immediately before a ‘learning’ or ‘educational’ experience.

She loves slides and chasing games. Swings are ok, but difficult as her balance is not very good. Baby swings help her have more of a sense of security. She doesn’t like to go very high or for very long at once; however, she may not tell you to stop or ‘done’ because she may want to sign it and can’t let go to use her hands.

    1. Key phrases

The key phrase I use to help her calm down when she is sad, angry, or hurt is ‘You’re OK.’ Or “Anna is OK.’ It helps to sign the letters O K also, as she focuses on your voice and actions distracting her from what has upset her. She usually repeats and signs OK when she feels better.

*Note: The picture and song methods take a long time to take effect if it is in reference to something new. It usually takes 2-3 weeks of use for her to learn the concept.

  1. Strategies that have not yet worked well in teaching Anna:
    1. Hand-over-hand or guiding her by touching her back or head

To get her to come with you, ask her to help you or ask her to ‘hold hands’.

    1. Drill repetition without visual or hands-on examples
    1. Having too many choices

She gets over-stimulated and cannot focus.

    1. Some sensory issues

She may pull all Velcro-backed choices off at once – she likes to pull apart Velcro things.

  1. Some things Anna has already learned from intervention:

(Most of these are still developing)

Taking turns, requesting a turn, waiting for a short time for a turn, requesting help, pretending using baby dolls and dishes/food, matching items by shape and color, vocabulary has increased using speech and sign language

  1. Things we hope she will learn from going to school:

Daily living skills appropriate for her age (using utensils better, drinking from an open cup, using the potty, putting on her own jacket and shoes, etc), social skills - interacting appropriately with other children and adults, and increased communication skills using speech, sign language, and pictures.

  1. Things we are concerned about:

We are concerned about three main things. First, Anna learns well by imitation. I am afraid she will copy undesirable ‘autistic’-type behaviors from other children. Second, I am worried she may not get to spend enough time interacting with typically developing peers. Finally, since her speech is not very clear and she signs a lot (also not always very clearly) I am afraid people, especially teachers/aides, may not understand her or even know that she is trying to communicate which may cause her to get frustrated and go back to throwing a lot of tantrums or just shut down and stop trying to communicate with anyone.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

What a fantastic idea for the 'Family Report'. I have worked in a school setting prior to my current position in a hospital. In my opinion, the most signficant difference is I have more direct contact (daily/weekly) with families which makes it easier maintain mutual goals for the child and seeing what techniques work for the parent. This type of communication may even be helpful for the school based therapist and hospital/private therapists to communicate what techniques have been attempted and what has been successful.