Friday, August 22, 2014

Chartered Territory

Many parents with special needs children chart behavior, medicine and any other information they may need to know. Up until this June, I had only made note when Ben had seizure activity and this was at the request of the neurologist. I had made sad attempts to track his sleep in the past when it was haywire, but nothing was consistent because I was too tired to follow-through.

I started this journey with a goal of a four week dairy elimination diet. Now we are on Day 60, tracking the following items:

  • Seizure medicine changes
  • Addition of allergy pill
  • Addition of probiotic
  • Bowel Movements
  • Sleeping hours (including any naps)
  • Dietary changes
  • Cheating with diet changes
We have learned so much from keeping this chart. As you can see from the photo, I did it "old school", on a paper calendar. I used pencil, pen and different colored highlighters to help things stand out. 

These are a few areas in which I think charting may help:

1. It is a good reminder about the healthy changes we are making in Ben's life and a motivator to continue with the regimen.

2. It is instant gratification to see when you are on Day 60 of something you thought you could only do for 28 days.

The yellow highlighted "P" stands for what you might 
think it stands for, and it is much improved from the 
constipation Ben experienced in May and early June.
3. It can validate any suggestions to the doctors based on observations from the chart. "The crazy mother" is at least backed by a paper and pencil chart.

4. For those of us who may be skeptics, it is hard to argue with a chart. Anecdotal stories carry more weight when accompanied with data.

5. Seeing positive change based on new ideas and behaviors motivates everyone to keep with the new system. Other family members and caregivers buy into the changes based on what they can see themselves on the chart.

6. Written down information is always better than keeping it in your head. Things are forgotten, details lost and then it becomes easier to just keep the same course, even if it is not working.

Charting could help with typically developing children too. Tracking tantrums tied to lack of sleep or food, bed wetting and drinking, screen time and behavior. If a chart shows a pattern and that tweaking a few minor things will make a change, it may be well worth the time and effort. 

I hope I won't have to do this forever, but right now, with so many good things happening, it would be foolish to stop now. Recording the progress will only help us make changes that benefit Ben.

















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