Being a Special Needs Parent means you are the King or Queen of organization. Chances are that you juggle work, your special needs child’s appointments, chores and so much more. You have the best knowledge of your family and the needs of your children. All this knowledge is important and helps you be the successful special needs parent you are, but are you using that knowledge at the IEP Table? If you translate your knowledge into data, you will change the way you view their progress.
Without data, you are just another person with an opinion.
I am not ashamed to admit that I did not understand the importance of data until a few years ago. We lived in a district in Colorado that wanted to eliminate my son’s IEP completely. They stated that he barely made the cut off for assistance and they felt he would do fine without the assistance.
That was a terrifying experience for me and that is also when I learned that data is protection. Long story short, thanks to data documentation, my son was able to keep his IEP and I was able to get him the resources he needed to be more successful at school.
If you want to become a better data collector for your child follow the 5 easy steps below.
Data Collection Steps:
1. Get a Journal that is dedicated to collecting data
2. Decide on the data (behaviors/ milestones) you will collect. Choose the top 3 areas of concern to start. You can always add more as you add data collection to your routine. Focusing on too much will cause variances in your data.
3. Be specific. Try a variety of data including triggers, duration, frequency and antecedents (what happened right before to the behavior).
Examples would include:
How many times your child needs a break completing Classwork or homework.
What subject areas does your child excel without prompts?
What antecedents trigger maladaptive behaviors? Did you place a demand? Did you transition from a preferred activity to a non-preferred activity?
4. Keep the journal with you and use it daily!
5. Analyze data for patterns and solutions.
Share your data with your IEP Team! They can help with solutions too!
Try these 5 easy steps and see how much easier it is to understand how to advocate for your child and communicate your concerns with the IEP Team.
There is a huge difference between saying it takes my child forever to complete their homework and it takes my child an average of 55 minutes to complete a worksheet and 45 minutes to read a chapter in her book without assistance.
This data can be used to help eliminate maladaptive behaviors too. If you know that your child will have a meltdown after 30 minutes of completing a non-preferred school subject, you can inform the team that your child will need breaks every 25 minutes.
You will be surprised to learn things about your child that you thought you knew already and this data will give you power to support requests and allow your child to do their best.
Need A Little More Help?
1. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Grab your free ticket to the zoom online event Understanding the IEP Coffee Talk
3. Set up a free 20 minute consultation.