The first thing that need to be done when writing an Individualized Assessment (IA) and setting goals for our children is to write a brief history of their lives to date. This doesn’t need to be a biography but a record of whether or not they hit appropriate developmental milestones within the target time and any significant events that may have effected them or that have a lasting influence.
For example: Since Bull was hospitalized as an infant he has some developmental milestones that he reached later than is typical,which is to be expected. He crawled later than most children, walked later than most children and so on. All of his delays are physical and can be directly related to having major stomach surgery at 3 months old.
Mouse was just turned two at the time of Bull’s hospitalization and essentially lost her parents for five weeks because of it. Buggle was with her as he has been for her whole life and as a result a great deal of her emotional security depends on that relationship.
When I write her history I include this information because it effects the kinds of things she is willing to do, how well she does in situations where she is separated from her brother, and her relationship with her parents.
It’s hard. Putting these kinds of things down on paper and noting the consequences in the lives of our children of circumstances and our own choices can be heart wrenching. We need to do it though as understanding the things that have shaped our children helps us to parent them better.
It might mean selecting gym classes for Bull that are designed to improve coordination and core strength. It might mean selecting activities for Mouse that Buggle is not involved in, but she finds interesting enough to feel like she can do them without him.
Sometimes that history effects curriculum choices, sometimes it effects the shape of the school day or what chores and when we ask them to do them. Writing down the history and where I see its effects helps me to determine the needs of each child.
I’ve created a Individualized Assessment Form with some of the questions that I ask when I write a child’s history. Please feel free to use it as a guide to your own Individualized Assessments of your children.