One thing I was determined to do while I was working with Ian at home, was take notes of our work together.
This began when we very first started the therapy programme in South Africa, where each therapist made notes on what they had done with Ian that day, so the others could read it for the next session or the next day, and keep abreast of changes or progress or things to watch out for.
When I was working with Ian on my own, my reasons for taking notes were slightly different.
Firstly, if you don’t keep a thorough record of progress, how are you ever going to know – clearly and definitively – that progress is being made? It’s easy to think ‘Oh, I’ll remember’, but I certainly wouldn’t have, not week by week, month by month. I knew it would be better if I wrote it down, accurately and honestly, as I went along.
Secondly, I kept notes because I lived in fear of the Schools’ Inspector. If he paid me an unscheduled visit, would I have anything that looked like anything to show him?
So I wrote notes.
Endless notes …
I filled books with details of Ian’s schoolwork, his progress, his successes, and his failings.
Of course, the Inspector never did visit. But I still have all the books, all that proof of our hours together.
They were in a box I came across recently, labelled ‘Ian’s School Stuff’, along with assorted paraphernalia from our school-room. One of the things in there was a clip tightly holding onto a collection of laminated single words.
I’d forgotten about these. This wasn’t a sentence-building exercise. This was to help Ian with his reading.
Ian often struggled to get from one word to the next, so I would line up a group of random words (obviously words Ian could already read!), and ask him to read them as quickly as possible.
I would read them to him first, to demonstrate, and then he would have a go.
Ian struggled with this at first, falling over some of the words, and occasionally reading them really slowly and carefully, but after a while he got into it and was surprisingly good at rattling off lengthy streams of random words. And it helped Ian to read more fluently, which was fantastic.
I lined up a few of them on the kitchen table this evening, and asked Ian to read them. Very obligingly, he did. Not as speedy as he used to be, but not bad.
Keep the notes.
You never know when you’ll need them.
And keep the paraphernalia; you never know when you’ll want to check if a task is still remembered!