Term one flew past and we now have the chance for a change of routine and expectation during the school holidays. The last weeks of term seem to bring out people’s survival mode, three, two and finally one week to go. With this count down comes permission to procrastinate; we are all guilty of thinking and acting on “oh it’s the end of term, let’s leave it till when we come back”. This intriguing mental habit results in about four weeks being underutilised up to three times per year. Curious that the chance to review progress and tweak the intervention programme is often missed.
Team leadership helps keep your child services focused and rolling along. The leader of your child team, whether it is you, a family service coach or school coordinator needs to strive for a high performing and accountable team around your child. An end of term review, quick discussion, programme tweak and timetable bookings mean that everybody hits the ground running from day one of next term.
Here’s how it can look. Markus, a year two student with Autism, was participating in an intensive speech pathology programme consisting of three 30 minute school based sessions per week. His aide attends all sessions and implements additional work during the school week. His end of term review indicated that he had achieved his Speech Pathology SMART goals, further his teacher and parents had anecdotal evidence of gains in his confidence, academic and social learning at home and school. Academic review by his teacher and aide highlighted the anticipated language and literacy progress but no parallel gain in Math. A four way 20 minute teleconference call applauded his progress, locked in ongoing intensive Speech Pathology, re worked one his ILP goals and agreed on extra math support with the special education teacher.
Markus was updated about his programme which served to reduce his holiday and new term anxiety. He received positive feedback about his brilliant terms work and that extra math practice would make it a bit easier for him. His self awareness and self advocacy skills are deliberately being groomed with the view that in time he will join his own SSG (Student Support Group) meetings. Do we sometimes forgot to tell our children how brilliantly they are doing and what their futures look like?
Not all students make progress. This too requires your child’s team leader to step forward and review the data at hand, to question and to follow up with honest team wide conversations and decisions. It may be that different support is required rather than more of the same, maybe a change in emphasis or more time to capture the anticipated growth.
A team needs a leader and a programme needs review. Who is the person on your child’s team who reflects, reviews and adjusts your child’s therapy and educational program? It may be you, your family service coach or a teacher, as long as there is somebody who has a good independent over view and leadership skills to keep the wheels moving. When next term kicks off what will it take for your child’s team to hit the ground running?
Occupational Therapist, Disability Service Consultant, Coach, Facilitator.