In the field of school psychology, effective communication is paramount. That’s where parent-friendly reports come into play. In this blog, we are going to explore the art of crafting reports that bridge the gap between complex assessments and how parents, teachers, and the assessment team understand the data presented. Join me as we delve into the importance of clear summaries and discover practical tips to make your reports easier to understand. If you want to watch a replay of the live recording where I discuss this topic, please click here.
The Importance of a Clear Summary
In the field of school psychology, writing reports is an essential part of our work. But how do we make these reports more meaningful and accessible to parents?? It all begins with the summary section.
The summary is more than a mere formality; it’s the linchpin that brings your report to life. In this section, it’s important to not simply restate test scores and technical jargon but encapsulate your findings and insights about the student using simple language. You’re telling parents, educators, and assessment team members, “Here’s what I’ve learned about your child during my assessment.” The challenge lies in navigating through potential legal language, regulations, and detailed data. How can we distill these complex elements into something that anyone can comprehend? The answer: through a well-crafted, parent-friendly summary.
Crafting Crystal-Clear Summaries: A Step-by-Step Guide
Summarizing can be challenging, especially when reports are written in a non-linear fashion. Many of us tackle reports in sections, leaving the summary as one of the last components. However, there are practical approaches to tackle this task.
Print and Proofread: Begin by printing your report. Reading a hard copy can unveil errors that go unnoticed on a computer screen. As you proofread, have a scratch paper handy. Jot down essential findings as you review records, interviews, and other data sources.
Highlight Threads: Look for recurring themes or common elements throughout your report. These threads provide context for your summary, enabling you to present a holistic picture of the student’s performance in the classroom.
By adopting this method, you’ll find it easier to create a parent-friendly summary that captures the essence of your report. Remember, the summary is your key to effective communication.
Avoid Using Technical Jargon and Acronyms
When you must use technical terms, be sure to explain them in a way that parents can understand.
Here is an example of how to avoid using difficult psych jargon
Instead of: [Child’s name] has a deficit in working memory.
Say: [Child’s name] has difficulty remembering instructions and completing tasks that require multiple steps.
As school psychs, it’s easy to forget that others might not understand our technical terms or acronyms. When you need to use psych terms, be sure to explain them in a way that parents can understand. You can also provide a glossary of terms at the end of the report.
To support your journey in mastering parent-friendly reports and advancing your school psychology skills, we’re excited to announce a five-part training series starting in November.
These sessions will cover a range of vital topics, including explaining assessment results, understanding dyslexia, decoding executive functioning skills, identifying students in need of special education services, and more!
These sessions aren’t just for school psychologists; they’re designed to benefit special educators, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, behaviorists, and other assessment team members. Whether you attend live or watch the recordings, we’ve got you covered. And the best part? We offer discounts for students, districts, and groups.
For more information about the upcoming training series, click the button below.