There are so many factors that can influence or illustrate how our children with autism are wearing their own skin, including health, toileting, aggressive &/or self-injurious behaviors, sleep patterns, medications, language usage, diet, and school performance.
We've used a Google spreadsheet to track those factors for Leelo for the past two-and-a-half years, with a lot of success.
Tracking helps us back up our anecdotal observations: "Yes, he has had more self-injurious behaviors this week. He developed a runny nose on the second day of the behaviors, so possibly there is sinus involvement. The behaviors disappeared three days later, along with the runny nose."
They help us make better long-view analyses as well. We've been able to establish patterns of seasonal allergies, and also have lots of data to support our concerns about summer regressions.
Supervisor M recently asked me to revise the spreadsheet to make it more data-driven. We're also including his weight at the beginning of the month, as well as a list of the foods he typically eats every day. Here's a sample of the current version, modified as per her suggestions:
I transcribe his teacher's daily notes as well, from the notebook that we use to communicate. Today's notes should give you an idea of why I am so worried about summer and regression. I want my son to be doing this well, staying in this happy space, forever:
"Leelo had a great, great day today. His behavior was great (had no self-injuries). Good attention/focus. He also worked well during time for independent work (worked 90% independent :) ).One thing the teacher didn't write down was a seriously scraped knee. This would normally be a concern, not because of the injury (kids scrape knees; it's what they do) but because he doesn't tolerate band-aids and so his cuts/scrapes tend to get infected. But he not only came home wearing a band-aid, he let me change it without complaint, and kept it on without a single fidget or fiddling for the remainder of the day. Who is this boy? I want to keep him.
"1:1 work with teacher: Still working on the following:
"He also played a table game with me (Colorama) and was able to say "my turn" with minimum prompts.
- Sight words (colors)
- Coins (matching pics and real coins)
- Fine motor tasks (nuts and bolts)
"Also very engaged in the motor room and sensory room.
"Had good behavior during snack time."