By Ellen Doman
As we increase the number of Skype evaluations that we do and continue to request
videos through our coaching program, we need to look at why we are doing videos and
how to make the most of these opportunities.
As evaluators we have a perspective regarding your child based on our own
observations in evaluations, your written reports, your verbal reports, and feedback that
we get from the coaches. Although this can be quite a bit of information, we can really
never have too much information about how your child functions or how you function
with your child.
Videos allow us to look into the child’s life at home, which is frequently quite different
from the child’s behavior in evaluations. The behaviors that parents often describe, but
we never see, can be captured on video. The speech that the child may be too shy to
show in an evaluation can be shown on a video. How the child follows directions in the
home environment versus in an evaluation can be shown on video.
We also get to see the parent or the caregiver interacting with the child doing program
activities as well as other activities. So we get to see firsthand how the child is
responding and the nuances of these interactions. If a program activity isn’t working as
well as expected, we can often see exactly why that is happening. So this information
becomes extremely valuable in adjusting the program and gaining progress.
For Skype evaluations you will be given directions on what to capture on video. Coaches
will also ask you to video specific activities so that they can ensure that they are being
done properly. In addition to these two opportunities, you can send us video clips
through emails to explain a problem, show progress, or request clarification on an
activity or request an explanation of a behavior. Again, a video clip can provide a clear
indication of a problem, of progress, or of a behavior. This allows the evaluator to
rapidly assess what is happening and make specific targeted recommendations to best
Allow your child to become accustomed to being videotaped by taping both important
activities and trivial activities. We don’t want camera shy children. So video things that
are not going to be sent to us just to practice capturing things on camera and to get
everyone accustomed to the process. Allow yourself multiple opportunities to capture
the content you need. You want to capture material that is representative of what your
child is doing. Children are somewhat unpredictable in their performance, so allow more
than one day to capture the video you will use. Don’t make a big deal about recording
your child, or their behavior will be different than it typically is. We want to see what is
Video and Skype allow us to gather valuable information that we could not retrieve by
any other means short of spending large amounts of time in your home. Do not allow
this opportunity to be missed. Capture your child doing program, conversing with you,
and interacting with others. We will respond with a better understanding of your reality
at home. This will produce more efficient and effective programs which saves you time
and results in improved progress.