Review Progress and Adjust Your Program
Consider Your Impressions
Start your formal appraisal of your program by considering your overall impressions. A few weeks after you have settled in with your program, ask yourself what you think and how you feel about how your child is doing on the program. For example:
What were our main concerns and what were our goals when we started our home program?
Overall, are things better in our home than when we started?
Has our child’s behavior improved in some areas but is still no better in other areas, compared to when we started?
Have our concerns about our child lessened enough to give us more peace of mind?
To gain perspective on how you are doing, compare the way things were in your family at the start and how they are now, item by item. Ask yourself what seems to be the reason for any changes that you have noticed.
When parents see changes in their children, they sometimes conjecture, “Maybe Luis just grew out of it,” or “Maybe Kayla is just being nicer because Christmas is coming,” or “It could just be Zoe got to spend the summer with Grandma.” Parents sometimes have called me long after we worked together on a home program, again concerned about their child’s behaviors. Typically after some success the parents had begun taking their child’s better compliance for granted, assuming other reasons for the change and not even thinking of restarting their home programs. While extraneous circumstances can have an influence, beware of too readily discounting the benefits of your program since you risk devaluing the very factors that accounts for your child’s improvements. Fortunately, in many of these cases, simply restarting a newly-focused program was all that was needed to turn things around to the parents’ satisfaction. Remember that the Principle of Positive Reinforcement impacts us and our children all the time, whether or not we pay attention to it; better we be aware and harness its considerable power than to be inattentive and therefore passively subject to what can be very negative consequences.
Considering your impressions first will provide you perspective on your whole effort. Even if your chart shows success, if you sense little overall improvement, you will need to make changes. Or, this exercise may bring to light progress that you hadn’t even noticed in your busy life despite real changes that show up on the chart. Either way, it is important to go on to the detailed evidence from your charting of your child’s progress.