Saturday, October 20, 2012

Paperwork--not cute, but necessary (Episode 1)

When I was in graduate school, paperwork was slightly mentioned; IEP writing not taught; data collection touched on only a little.  In my practicum sites, each SLP had a completely different method of organization (some a bit loose, others just the opposite).  I work with graduate students now---they don't seem to know much about this either! Some are intuitively better than others, but they seem to need a lot of direction.


In the NC public schools, including in my own school system, each SLP seems to have evolved with his or her own unique method of therapy data collection, and I'm no different.  Evolving is a good word----in my beginning stages, I really had no system.  Then Medicaid happened, and I started to tighten up.  My moment of transformation happened when another SLP I knew was literally escorted out the door for a lack of data.  My mental light bulb came on, and what you'll see in the next few posts is what I do to ensure that if I were ever taken to court, I could say that I have done my best in reporting a child's progress, or lack of progress, on IEP goals.


Although I have previously blogged on using an iPad to take data and write therapy notes, the backbone of my system is an old-fashioned paper document.  When I get a child, I type up a therapy note form which contains the abbreviated goals/objectives, and pertinent information such as diagnosis code, date of birth, setting I saw the child, and other things.  Read the one pictured above for yourself.  I give myself room to write the activities (that's were all of my snazzy adapted books go!) and a signature line for each session, along with my credentials.  Why do I go through all of this trouble when I can just use a Google form?  The answer is that the paper document is what I use to formulate the questions in the eventual Google form, and a paper document is what I physically sign.   (I can't sign an Ipad!)

       Even if I do use a Google form for data collection, I still need to sign off, and can just staple the printed Google spreadsheet to my signed from.  I don't write the data twice, but our overall system in the schools still requires paper and signatures, so a paper form is the backbone.  I've seen several forms in other SLP blogs--whatever works for you is the way to go as long as you have something systematic.  There are a few extra details I've included in Google forms that I'll share that I don't put in the paper form---specifically relating to Medicaid requirements. 

This will all be demonstrated in Episodes 2 and 3.  I know you are all waiting eagerly for this (especially on a Saturday night!)   






1 comment: