A CONTACT LOG
What is a contact log?
Contact log's can help when it may seem like an impossible task staying organised, when you are juggling your child's education,
the everyday little things of looking after a special needs child.
You will feel more organised and in control if you set up a system to keep track of the little things, especially conversations and meetings
you have with teachers, therapists, doctors and
With so much on your mind, you may not always remember exactly what was said, promised or proposed at that specific time.
Here's how to have all those details right at your fingertips when you need them.
CREATE A CONTACT LOG .
You can either create a log entry form on your PC, print out a couple of blank forms and keep them on hand for when they are needed or
have a look at the list below, and use it as a guide when you are making notes, or if you decide to use a note book, for your log.
Either way, each log entry should include the following:
- Date and time
- Type of conversation: Telephonic, meeting or informal encounter.
- Who was the conversation with:Name and title. If the person you wanted to speak to is not available, take the name of the person you spoke to.
- Who initiated the conversation:Did they contact you or did you contact them?
- What was discussed:Make notes on what was discussed, important information and any non-relevant information that might be useful later on.
- Actions initiated:If you have asked for something to be done, or something was planned, make a note of what it is, who is responsible
and by when it is expected to be done.
- Follow up:Write down anything that needs to be done as a result of the conversation - including seeing that the other person does what
they are suppose to do - and when you will be doing it, and contacting them again.
TIPS FOR KEEPING A SUCCESSFUL
Follow these tips to make your log work for you:
- Keep an entry for every conversation.
Always keep a blank form or your note book with you to keep track of the conversations you have with someone who works with your child.
If the other party initiates contact and you do not have your log book with you at the time, make notes as soon as possible afterwards
while the conversation is still fresh in your mind.
- Organise the contact log
Find a way to organise the log that works for you.
Wether you are super neat and want your log to be aesthetically pleasing, or if you know
you will never get anything done if you fuss too much with the format and the layout; remember that taking notes does not help if you cannot
find them when you need them.
Find a system that works, and keep it simple.
- Keep the completed forms in a note book.
- Keep the completed contact log forms in an accordion file.
- Keep the completed forms in file folders.
- Keep the contact log in a bound journal.
- Keep the log on index cards in a card box.
- Use the log book information for follow-ups and conversations.
- After your conversation, it is a good idea to email or send a letter to the person, giving them a brief summary of the conversation. If there
is an action to be taken, spell out your understanding of the responsibility, and the timetable for the action to be completed, as discussed.
- Have your log available when you speak to the professional again, you can then make specific references to what was discussed, with whom and when.
- Take your contact log or a summary of it with when you are having a meeting with the person involved. You will have first hand information available,
and if you have been having any problems, they will be documented for the person to see firsthand.
REASONS FOR KEEPING A CONTACT LOG
We are all guilty of scrawling notes on little pieces of paper, then never being able to find them when we need them.
We know we should get organised!
We know this kind of stuff is important!
So here are a few more reasons why you should keep a log whenever you speak
to the professionals looking after your special needs child:
- It makes a request more convincing
Which one of these will get you want faster - "I spoke to you about this issue on the 5 March and you said that you would have it to me by the 12 march, so where is it?"
or "Um, I think we spoke about this a while ago, and you said you would get back to me about it sometime around now."
- You are more in control.
If you are not getting the required results from the person you are dealing with and you have to go to someone higher up, having a history
of exact dates, names, conversations and statements, will help your cause considerably. Vague recollections? - Not at all!
- It makes people pay attention.
Once school personnel and therapists know that you are taking notes, they are much more likely to make responsible statements and back them up.
A reputation for enforcing accountability is one you should be proud of.
- It promotes successful meetings.
Your contact log is invaluable during meetings with professionals. You can refer back to conversations and if there are any discrepancies they can
be sorted out immediately and prevented from happening again in the future.
- It encourages you to stay updated.
Once you have the contact log working for you, use it proactively. Keep in touch with your child's teacher and therapists on a regular basis and keep notes of what you learn.
See if there are any problems that you can solve, or problems no one else wants to resolve, use the log to address these. If you encounter any resistance,
you have got back up.
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