Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Improving Practice through Texting

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Improving Practice through Texting

Article excerpt

Parents, students, and teachers are used to having hundreds of text messages come in during any given day. The one type of text that is not being received is one from school psychologists. It seems like an odd oversight that while schools and teachers have embraced group texting and doctor offices use text reminders for appointments, school psychologists have been silent in utilizing this technology.

My first thoughts go to the assessment process. Chasing down teachers and parents to complete adaptive behavior scales, observations, and behavior rating forms so a report can be written is never fun. Texting could be the answer: Teachers and parents could receive automated texts notifying them of what needs to be completed.

Another aspect where texting could help in the assessment process is getting parents, teachers, and other school staff to attend IEP meetings. Text message reminders are more likely to be read than e-mails, and they increase the attendance rate at meetings. Imagine the time that could be saved if just two IEP meetings each week did not have to be rescheduled.

Texting parents during the referral and assessment process could have the additional benefit of getting them more involved. Imagine the parent getting a text as each stage of the referral and assessment process is completed. These types of tailored text messages (compared to generic messages) are exactly the kind that a review found encouraged more involvement in programs (Fjeldsoe, Marshall, & Miller, 2009).

While all ofthis sounds wonderful, there are some inevitable caveats. The main consideration when choosing to text during the assessment process is student confidentiality. The issue of confidentiality frequently comes up when incorporating electronic communication. The rule of thumb in clinical settings has been to reserve texting for administrative purposes such as scheduling appointments or reminders to turn in materials.

Even when doing administrative tasks via text messages, there are still some steps that need to be taken. The first step is to get signed consent to contact the parent using text messaging. This can be incorporated as part of the informed consent for conducting the assessment. The second step is to check with district administrators regarding existing policies concerning electronic communication with parents. …

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