Success With Individualized Neurodevelopmental Plans


Congratulations! You are helping your child overcome his or her learning challenges. Your neurodevelopmentalist (ND) has designed a home "program" of activities or Individualized Neurodevelopmental Plan (INP) to help you reach your goals.  Here are some answers to frequently asked questions and suggestions from experienced parents and neurodevelopmentalists which may make the daily implementation of your INP more consistent and thus more successful.


Your program has been designed for optimum learning. The factors of frequency, intensity and duration have been carefully planned. Program items are designed to work together for a common goal. Often one activity will be addressing several issues. The total duration of the day is also important. So if you want to add anything or cut anything out you should check with your ND.


What to do
On your INP or home "program" page you will see program activities listed with F and D. F indicates frequency or number of times per day. D indicates duration in minutes each time the activity is done. You can change the frequency if you need to adjust for total time, but do not change the duration. Please allow at least 15 minutes between repetitions of the same activity to allow the brain to adapt to the changes which have been made. Avoid doing repetitions of the same activity back to back because this would increase duration and lower intensity and effectiveness.


Most program activities are to be implemented 5 days per week. The exception to this is any activity your ND instructs you to do more often. Dominance activities are always to be done 7 days per week. Also the activities indented under dominance activities are to be done 7 days per week. Examples of dominance activities are hopping, kicking, cross throwing and occluding eyes or ears. Ask your ND if you are not sure.


When you are learning to implement your INP, start with a few activities and add a few more each day until you are able to get through the entire program one time per day. Over the next few weeks gradually add additional frequencies until you are doing the entire program.


You can arrange the activities in the order and time of day that will work best for your child and the rest of your family, unless your neurodevelopmentalist has given you other specific instructions. Many families begin in the morning and work through until everything is done. Usually this is the most successful plan. Others attempt to work in activities throughout the day. Some have even been successful taking program materials to the park or beach and working in between their child's play breaks.


Some parents list their program activities in 15 minute groups on 3x5 cards. If additional helpers are occasionally available, they can select a card and do the activities on one or more cards. Be sure to keep track of the accomplishments on your check list when using the 3x5 card method.


It is important to plan when you will do the various activities since consistency is essential for success. When life events threaten to interrupt plans, some parents have found it helpful to plan each evening for implementing program the next day.


Keeping records to make progress for your child
Your INP may have a program implementation check sheet next to the activity list, if it does not your ND will have given you a blank check list form to keep track of the amount of program you accomplish. Write your program onto your check list form. Make enough copies of your check list to have one copy per week until your revisit appointment. For 4 month schedules 17 or 18 copies are usually needed.


Use one copy of the form per week to keep track of your accomplishments. The accomplishment check list should be marked every time a program activity is completed. Please do not mark what you are going to do, only what you have accomplished. Some families shade in the boxes they do not have to check. This can help you see what remains to be done each day.


At the end of each week review your accomplishment. With a highlighter pen mark across the week for any program activity where less than 80% has been accomplished. Review with yourself why the activity was not done consistently. Often schedule changes can be made so that everything can be accomplished. Sometimes not having purchased or received an item yet is the difficulty. Getting enough program done is important. At least 80% of an activity needs to be done to make satisfactory progress.


Honestly appraising your accomplishment by pointing out activities which are not being done, identifying the reason they are not getting done and attempting to correct the situation the following week will allow you to make the necessary changes to make maximum progress for your child.


Using a 3 ring binder or clip board is helpful for keeping program pages, check sheets, information sheets, and articles together and organized. Keeping program materials in a box or in one location of the house, can save time when you are doing program.


Activities you can't do and those you want to add
Please let us know if there are activities on the program that you cannot afford to do at the present time. We can help you assess the importance of that activity for your child, how long you can wait before implementing the activity or suggest other activities to take it's place.


If you have a complete home educational plan, please do not add other academics to your child's day, unless approved by your ND. The total duration of your child's day was carefully considered as your ND designed the INP. Making your child's day too long could slow progress developmentally and academically.


Program questions
It is important to do your activities correctly so do not hesitate to ask for help. No one minds explaining until you understand. Please contact your program support person or your ND as soon as possible.


Occasionally families know other people who are implementing neurodevelopmental programs. Program activities are frequently modified for specific reasons. You should implement your program activities as your were instructed. If you have any questions please contact your ND or program support person.


We welcome your questions. We expect our clients to ask questions any time they do not understand. Program implementation and support are a dynamic process that is facilitated by good communications between the family and their ND. Families who are successful with their program often have important questions, observations and needs which can be cared for through this support process.


Communications
Timely communication is very important to success with program. Plan to make contact with your ND at least every 2 weeks during the first four months on program and as suggested by your ND thereafter. Telephone conferences, telephone messages, faxes and e mail may be used to communicate.


Ask you neurodevelopmentalist the best time to reach them by phone. E mail is usually the most cost effective and timely way for families to maintain contact.


We often schedule phone appointments or request videos of our families implementing program. These support functions are designed to help families implement program more accurately and consistently. Most families find these appointments helpful when they are learning to implement program, or if they have had difficulty implementing program on a consistent basis. Phone appointments or video reviews are available for any client who requests them. If your ND schedules a phone appointment with you, someone will be waiting for your call at that time unless something urgent and unexpected has arisen. Please keep all phone appointments. If you need to change a phone appointment, please leave a message or e mail to let your ND know as soon as possible so you can reschedule.


We value keeping in touch with our families and will attempt to answer your messages as soon as possible. Since we frequently travel for evaluations and continuing education, we may be away when you call. Unfortunately, e mail and voice mail messages can be lost, may be unclear or may be erased accidentally.


Be sure to always leave a message including your phone number and a brief description of your question on your ND's answering machine or voice mail so they can return your call. If you have not heard in a week, please leave another message.


If you have sent an e mail message and have not received a reply within a week, please send it again. Be sure to put your child's name on the subject line. Please use the e mail address in the contact information given to you by your neurodevelopmentalist.


The CFOP listserve is another source of program support. It is maintained by the ICAN certified neurodevelopmentalists for their client's families. Over 200 families from the US and Canada with children on INPs receive the e mail from this list. Eight neurodevelopmentalists also participate in the list. The discussion revolves around topics of interest to the parents such as success stories, questions about how to do program, specific program activity questions, questions of general interest for the ND's to answer, discussion of children's challenges, research information, and prayer requests. If you would like to participate give your e mail address to your ND and ask to be added to the list. We recommend that you participate in this service for additional support and encouragement.


Scheduled data reporting
Your ND needs accurate data on how much of each activity has been accomplished. During support between evaluations this information helps your ND redirect your attention to priority activities if necessary or accurately answer your questions. At evaluations, your ND needs to assess how well specific activities are helping your child. Thus, accurate information is extremely important.


Your ND has given you a monthly report form. On the 25th of each month, mail a copy of the month's accomplishment check sheets and the report form to your ND. Please do not fax these papers. Your ND will review your report and contact you if necessary to make helpful suggestions. Please do not mail any reports during the three weeks before our revisit appointment. Please bring these in to the revisit evaluation.


The learning curve
It is normal to feel overwhelmed when you start doing "program". Almost everyone feels this way when trying to work program into an already busy life full of adult responsibilities.


There is a "learning curve" to doing home programs. You will find the process will become easier as you work with your program. If you have been doing program for a while and are still feeling overwhelmed or are not able to complete program, please discuss this with your ND.


Life events may interrupt our greatest plans and unforeseen changes may alter the amount of program you can accomplish. Often families overestimate the amount of time they have available to get program done. Sometimes, time or child management is difficult. If this is your situation, please contact your ND as soon as possible. Your ND has been trained to help you with time management, make suggestions for child management, and prioritize the program. If necessary they can reduce the total INP to an amount you can accomplish.


Your ND knows which program activities are most essential and what needs to remain on program to effectively address the underlying causes of your child's challenges. Please do not select activities to cut out without your ND's advice.


Maintaining program over a long time requires love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. This spiritual fruit comes from God. We strongly recommend that families pray daily for their child on program and the family members who will be implementing the program.


Revisit Evaluations
We need your completely filled out 6 page program report form before we begin your child's revisit evaluation. Since you observe your child daily, your observations are essential to the process of helping your child. Reviewing your observations before we begin the evaluation can direct our attention to additional issues which may be important and helps us do a better job for your family. Spending some time filling out this form several days before the evaluation will give you additional time to reflect on information which you may want to convey to us and questions you may wish to ask.


To your revisit evaluation, you need to bring your well rested nourished casually dressed child, yourself, something to read or do while your child is being evaluated, a video camera or tape recorder (if possible), snacks for your child, and a toy or game to keep him occupied while we have our parent conference. We welcome both moms and dads at all evaluations.


Your revisit evaluation will take approximately half the time that your initial evaluation took. It includes academic testing, neurodevelopmental observation, parent conference, INP design, and program instruction. Be sure to ask for a demonstration of any program activities you are not certain you are implementing correctly.


By Marilee Nicoll Coots, Certified Neurodevelopmentalist, Copyright 2000