I currently work at an elementary school, and at the end of every nine weeks I have to send progress reports home with report cards. As I am writing my progress reports for all of the students on my caseload, I am amazed at how much my students have grown and improved.
For some therapists, writing progress reports is dreadful, but as for me, I enjoy it. Even though I have to write a pretty high number of progress reports, I still look forward to typing personalized reports. (I am not going to mention the exact number because I do not want to discourage any speech therapists from working in the schools. We definitely need more speech therapists in the schools and if we had more, I would not have such a high caseload.)
Writing progress reports allows me to communicate with the parents. Unlike working in a clinic or hospital, I don’t get the opportunity to introduce myself to every parent. I take this time to let them know that I care about their child’s progress by stating the activities we do in speech therapy, the child’s progress and at-home activities to work on the child’s speech and/or language goals.
I also use progress reports as a way to thank the parents. One of my students introduced a really fun game that I like to call Slap R (very similar to Slap Jack) to her group members and now I play it with other students. Slap R (or Slap S, K, TH, etc.) is now the number one requested game in Mrs. Mary’s speech class. Well, I used this time to say, “Thanks to your daughter, a lot of my students are enjoying speech therapy even more. Thanks for finding a creative and fun way to help [child’s name] reach her goals.”
I am pretty animated in my progress reports home. When a child has met an objective, I usually say, “Yay!!! (Yes, I use three exclamation points). Congratulations!!! [child’s name] has mastered the /th/ sound in all position of words. Now we will move on to produce /th/ in phrases and sentences.” I want the parents to feel how excited I am about their child’s accomplishment because I truly am.
I usually end my progress reports by stating, “Practicing at home in a less structured environment is beneficial for [child’s name]. Please refer to this website for more fun at-home activities and resources.”
Personalizing every progress report takes a lot of time, but I think it is worth every hour. I want my parents to read what I have to say, so I try to grab their attention anyway possible, whether it be with several exclamation points or resources.
Just remember that parents need to feel empowered to help their child. By giving them resources, praise, and specific information about their child, we are doing just that, which leads to a more successful child.