Lately we've been thinking about report writing for Neurodivergent students. Report writing is a necessary part of providing care for Neurodivergent clients. We are duty-bound to maintain comprehensive records in accordance with applicable guidelines HCPC Standards of Proficiency
As Neurodivergent-Affirming SLTs, we see reports time after time that are written through a Medical Model lens which are full of deficit-based language. As professionals we should reflect on our reports and ask ourselves some key questions:
If this report was describing myself or a loved one, how would I feel about the language used?
If my client read this would I feel comfortable with how I described them and their needs?
Does this report describe the supports the person needs?
Does the language assign judgment? Is it shaming? Pathologising? De-humanising?
Does the report accurately describe their strengths and difficulties? Has sufficient attention been given to their strengths as well as their needs?
Instead of this...
Has Autism, ASD, ASC
Is Autistic, is formally identified as being Autistic
Mild / moderate / severe language difficulties
Language difficulties (specify the difficulties)
Social Communication Disorder
Has characteristics of Autistic communication, has social communication differences, socialises differently to their non-Autistic peers
Poor attention, inattentive
Has attention differences characteristic of Neurodivergent / Autistic children, attended best when interested in....
Meaningless / aimless / purposeless play
Autistic children have a preference for parallel play and interaction. What we might see is that the child prefers to sit side-by-side, share the space with other peers, connect through shared activity, and comment on what they are doing.
On their own agenda
X demonstrates a monotropic thinking style which is characteristic of Neurodivergent children. What we might see is that the child has a good attention for a select number of things, prefers sameness, struggles with transitions and change, becomes hyperfocused in their interests, and has difficulties shifting their attention to new activities that do not pertain to their interests.
Repeats words and phrases without meaning
Communicates through echolalia. Although communicative intention may not be clear, it is important to understand that echolalia often conveys the child's emotions, needs, or ideas. It can also serve as a form of self-regulation.
Monologues, goes off on tangents, poor reciprocity
Uses longer conversational turns and info-dumps. This is characteristic of Autistic communication and is a way to share information and connect with people.
Blunt, abrupt, rude
X is a direct communicator, uses language efficiently to express needs and opinions which has executive functioning benefits due to the cognitive, physical, emotional, and sensory labour that goes into communicating a message.
Uses neutral facial expressions
Poor / unusual eye-contact
Prefers to use reduced levels of eye-contact. Their eyes moved around the room when they speak which is characteristic of Autistic interaction styles.
Aloof and disinterested, socially awkward, rigid, uses stereotyped behaviours
Has differences in body language and proximity which impacts how they move their bodies in the social context. They may stim which is a form of self-regulation and communication. This is due to sensory processing differences and how they modulate sensory input.
Gets distracted by redundant information
Gets distracted by sensory stimuli which they find distressing or aversive, impacting on their communication, attention, and learning.
Reference: Divergent Perspectives (2022, Aug 29). Neurodivergent Report Writing. www.divergentperspectives.co.uk/post/neurodivergent-affirming-report-writing