More Changes and Challenges in EI
Earlier in the week I raised a few issues that have started to become more and more pressing in my work in early intervention.
The one that was first and foremost is the demand to use the term "daily routines". As a therapist working in a wide variety of home environments, sometimes identifying definable routines can be quite a struggle. I've been in homes where they never eat a meal as a family. They are constantly on the run, busy and scattered. This makes tracking routines and data very challenging.
Another scenario I also find surrounds the issue of toys. Toys are supposed to be the way children learn and explore endless concepts and skills. They should be part of their "daily routine". I've been in homes where there are no toys and I've also been in homes where toys are everywhere — broken and in piles and pieces all over the floor. The focus of therapy then becomes, helping the family CREATE daily routines that can be measured and recorded for the purpose of data, which sometimes diverts attention away from other aspects of speech and language.
This brings me to our next change, which is an increased concentration and demand on data collection. Our county now encourages both the therapists and the parents to keep organized and definable measurable data. Once again, for some parents this is extremely difficult and overwhelming. What I have done is create "parent charts" that I give to families to help them easily record what their child did/said throughout the day.
I would love to hear feedback from other therapists/parents on how this may be handled in your area!
Regarding therapist data, I was recently informed that it is now supposed to be submitted to our coordinators two weeks prior to every meeting. Now, one of the difficulties in our county is that we are only compensated for the time we are physically with a child. All the work we do outside of actual therapy time, such as making pictures, laminating, photocopies, phone calls, meeting/paperwork preparation is technically "non-billable time". They encourage us to do as much as we can within the home with the family during billable time; however it seems as though the list of "things to do" keeps growing and some of it will certainly take place outside our billable time.
My final issue to address has not happened yet; however I hear everyday that it is fast approaching (by May, 2009): our paperwork will be computerized. Our IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan) will no longer be handwritten, it will be typed and both coordinators and therapists will be responsible for entering the data. I am curious how other counties in early intervention are handling computerized IFSPs? There are many unanswered questions...will the county provide laptops? How will we print out data for the families? Does this once again cut into "non-billable time"? I have seen computerized IEPs work beautifully in several school systems; however I am curious as to how it will work in home care.
Thank you for reading today's questions and concerns. Any insights readers can offer would be greatly appreciated!