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   Support Planner:  History 101

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History 101 - Incidents to Observations

In relation to 'incidents' the Planner has gone through three developmental stages.

Stage 1.  Including and working with incident data

Initially the Support Planner did not include specific incident data and focused only on planing and managing support (1997-2000) . In 2000 a component was included to manage incident data. We too focused on incidents using a structure that is still almost identical to what is proposed in the deign brief. However things have developed two steps further without the need to add any new components - the basic structure has worked well for the subsequent stages.

Stage 2. Incidents and 'concerns'.

After working with incident data for a while we realised that there were other important and closely related data beyond incidents per se. Incidents are events (hence the need for time and place data). We realised that there was other significant data that might be thought of as 'concerns'. Concerns include problematic events but included other more general matters such as attendance, attitudes, cooperation, e.g., "Reluctant to take medication'... and out of school matters, eg, "Mother reports concern about ...". As a result we renamed these data as 'Concerns' and developed coding and reports to match.

Stage 3 (present) Incidents, concerns and other 'observations'

As users began to work with students using the data in the Planner the need to record an even wider range of data emerged. For example, from a conversation with a mother about her son's behaviour at home, one GO began to doubt an ADHD diagnosis and wanted to record this as well as make a commitment to resolving the doubt


Similarly in conversations around the data many students (and their teachers) have wanted to have their achievements and other good things included in the records: eg "Class merit award for science project"


And now several schools are recording a weekly profile of how each day of the week has been for the student and what is working/not working or being achieved, eg,

 "23/9 W=34322 noises much reduced " means that for the week ending 23/9 Joshua's in-class performance ranged from 4 (very poor) on Tuesday to 2 (good) on Thursday and Friday. It also indicates that there was a significant reduction in the noises produced by Joshua in class and this can be related to .And this data then feeds several reports that are useful to the student, parents, teachers and school. This simple data entry is building up a very significant profile of the students progress and provides a lot of starting points for conversations and coaching.

It is about focus and concepts.

So the core concept in this part of the Planner has gone from 'incident'  -->  'concerns' --> 'observations' yet the structure of data in the Planner has not required any additions or changes. Separating out incidents from concerns from other observations is achieved by the way coding and report design. This highlights that databases are fundamentally designed around concepts rather than technology.
 
The net result of Stage 3. is a form of dynamic 'functional analysis' very consistent with PBS. It also supports a whole host of important practices impacting of the quality of life for students, their families and teachers and the capacity of the school per se. 
Implications for StIMS


If StIMS is also a Stage 3 device this also will make it much easier for current users of the Planner to move to StIMS, something I am keen to see.
 
I am confident that StIMS will progress through these same three stages - they represent stages in the development of informed professional practice. All users of the Planner have begun with an almost exclusive focus on incidents then most move rapidly to concerns and then to observations. There are three basic questions we need to ask in order to support students and each other:

  • What's working?
  • What's not?
  • What else might be possible?
     

Knowing what is going wrong as indicated by incidents (Stage 1) is important and necessary, but not sufficient.

Recommendations

The following recommendations have been forwarded to several senior officers associated with the development of StIMS.

  • StIMS should help people move easily and naturally to Stage 3.
  • And in this context StIMS needs to be understood as a communication device rather than a recording device (although for some schools a recording device would be progress)
  • Consideration be given to amending the design brief so that it is intended to support Stage 3. concepts and practices which may mean reconceptualising what the data represent.


     

 

 

Ivan Webb Pty Ltd 2001 onwards