How to Document Your Child’s Progress
All contents of this resource were created for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, therapist, or other qualified health providers with any questions or concerns you may have.
Your child works hard every day at school, therapy, and home. However, progress can be hard to see on a day to day basis. Therefore, in this article, you will find suggestions on ways to document your child’s progress. Doing so will help you and your child’s team of professionals determine if an intervention is effective or not as well as see how far your child has come.
Documenting Progress Through Formal Assessments and Parent Reports
Schools and therapy providers are required to regularly assess and report on your child’s progress. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to document your child’s growth is to maintain a file with copies of all these reports. Also, be sure to include reports from any independent assessments your child may have received in this file.
However, keeping reports from formal evaluations conducted by your child’s teachers and therapists isn’t the only way to document your child’s progress. Equally as important are the informal assessments conducted by you, the parent. Remember, you are an expert when it comes to your child. Informal parent documentation of progress is an invaluable tool that allows both parents and providers to adjust treatment plans and see how far your child has come.
Easy Ways to Document Progress from Home
Because information about what you see at home plays an essential role in monitoring your child’s progress, it’s important to document your observations. Below are some examples of easy ways to document your child’s growth at home.
One of the easiest ways to document your child’s progress from home is through a checklist. There are several checklists which are readily available for parents to assess and monitor growth. However, if you choose to monitor your child’s progress with a checklist, don’t forget to regularly review results and re-take periodically for comparison.
- Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC)
- Developed by the Autism Research Institute.
- Evaluates effectiveness of treatments through a self-reported checklist focusing on four areas:
- Speech/Language Communication
- Sensory/Cognitive Awareness
- Parents and caregivers may complete an ATEC online and save the results in email.
- Compare scores every 6 months to evaluate progress.
- Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT)
- Valid as an autism screener for children 16-30 months old.
- Often used in pediatrician offices.
- Additionally, parents can use this checklist as both a screening tool for autism and a list of developmental milestones to focus on.
- CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. Developmental Milestones Checklist
- Provides developmental milestones from birth through 5 years old.
- Parents may use as a reference to identify missed milestones to address.
- Download the Milestones Tracker app for convenient tracking and video examples.
Another option to document your child’s progress is through video diaries. Technology makes videoing your child an easy and readily accessible form of documentation.
The following tips will help you create a video library of your child’s progress:
- Take videos of your child performing targeted tasks at regular intervals.
- Save the videos in a folder on your phone or other storage device.
- Remember to record the date the video was taken.
- Show your doctor, school, or therapists these videos as evidence of any behaviors or issues that arise, skills lacking or conversely, skills gained.
Another key strategy for documenting your child’s progress is by journaling. Writing down your observations in one place simplifies analyzing progress and establishing patterns of behavior.
- Keep a journal or diary of your child’s journey.
- In detail, take notes about:
- Activities of the day
- Food and drink consumed
- Any illness
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Observed behaviors and emotions
- Not to mention, journaling is a constructive way to process emotions and deal with stress.
In summary, with the ideas and resources listed above, you have the ability to easily document your child’s progress from home. Furthermore, if you share important information that you’ve collected at home with your child’s team of professionals, it can help them develop more effective goals and treatment plans. Above all, it provides an opportunity to celebrate each and every gain!