Session Notes Made Simple!

One of the most positive aspects of the Internet is the ability to learn from the experience of others.  And one of the nicest things about all the blogging SLPs out there is the generous spirit which drives them all to share so many wonderful ideas.  I truly appreciate the collegial nature of the SLPs who participate in the message boards of my site,www.speakingofspeech.com, and those who maintain blogs and websites related to our field.  A good example is Ruth Morgan, the SLP who maintains the blog, Chapel Hill Snippets.  Ruth shares lots of creative therapy ideas, materials, and tech tutorials on her blog.  It was the tutorial about using the iPad and Google Docs for data recording that really caught my eye.  You can find her tutorial here: http://chapelhillsnippets.blogspot.com/2011/06/idata-with-ipad-tutorial-for-therapists.html, along with a second article on how to transfer Google Docs to the iPad.

With a few modifications from Ruth’s example, I was able to use these instructions to create an elegant way to record individual session notes that:

  • * will allow input and access from my iPad or my laptop
  • * will record attendance and number the therapy sessions
  • * will provide an “at a glance” view of which goals we’ve worked on in any given time period
  • * will allow for quick graphing of data on any IEP goal
  • * will include areas for listing materials used, making notes on the session, and tracking completion of homework
  • * can be emailed and printed
  • * will make progress reporting SOO much quicker and easier
  • * will be complete, detailed, and legible (unlike my handwritten log book which only I can decipher)
  • * automatically updates the student doc on the iPad when changes are made on the laptop.

Using these new Google Doc forms for recording my daily session notes and writing progress reports will be a MAJOR improvement over the logbook in a binder that I have used for the past 18 years!  My first rainy-day project of the summer?  To create Google Doc forms for each of my students so they are ready to be used on the first day of the new school year!  Whoever thought one could be inspired by data recording?  Thanks, Ruth!

UPDATE 3/31/15:  Because my employer will not allow Google Docs (now Google Drive) for session notes, due to concerns of web security and confidentiality, I now use Excel on my laptop.  The format looks just like the format Ruth describes in her tutorial, but because it is not web-based, it is accepted by my employer.  I have used Google Docs, then Excel, for 4 years and absolutely love this way of keeping session notes for each student.  My notes are far more detailed and legible than my old hand-scrawled notes.  I can see at a glance which skills I have worked on and which need to be addressed for each student.  Writing present levels and progress reports is so much quicker and more accurate.

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