Engaging Families, Intervention Visits, Bridging the Gap, Practical Strategies

Peeking into Real Life: Videotaping Routines between EI Visits

One of the interesting ideas that’s percolating around in my brain following the DEC conference is about using videotaping during and between early intervention visits. Here are a few ways I’ve either heard about or read about for using videotaping in early intervention to help families bridge the gap between visits and everyday life:

  • Using a parent’s cell phone camera to record the parent or provider using the strategy during the visit. This is a great idea because so many phones now have video capability and it seems like everyone has one. A parent can then show the video to another caregiver after the visit or can refer back to the video him/herself between visits as a reminder of what to do. I can’t take credit for this fantastic idea. Check out this video clip on our site to hear from the PT who shared this idea with us. Thanks Belkis!
  • Loaning the family a flip camera to record a daily routine that occurs between visits. Maybe dinnertime is a disaster or the child has trouble with being put into his carseat in the mornings to go to daycare. Of course, the best idea is to observe these routines first-hand to offer support, but when the provider can’t be there, videotaping may offer another way to support the family. The video can then be watched during the next visit and the provider and parent can problem-solve together. OR, maybe there’s a routine that goes really well that can be taped. When the video is watched, the provider and parent can talk together to develop strategies that can fit into the routine to support the child’s development.
  • Asking the family to videotape themselves using an intervention strategy between visits. Seeing what life is like when the service provider isn’t there can really help the provider offer better, more meaningful support than just making random suggestions that may or may not fit with what actually happens between visits. The video can provide a jump off point for the next visit and a great way to review the strategies that were discussed during the last visit.
  • Videotaping the parent and child interacting during a routine then analyzing it together. There’s nothing like watching yourself on camera. This would need to be done sensitively, of course. After the routine is recorded, the parent and provider could watch together, with the provider helping the parent reflect on what he/she did. Watching the video together can offer a fantastic opportunity for the parent to come up with strategies to improve the situation with only minor guidance and coaching from the provider.
  • Videotaping throughout intervention to track progress. This can be a great visual way to see how much a child has changed over the time, physically and developmentally. It can also be a way to see quality of changes, such as a child’s developing ability to interact, communicate more clearly, become more independently mobile, etc. A nice bonus of this type of taping is that a compilation of the videos makes a great graduation gift when the child leaves the early intervention system!

It probably goes without saying, but be sure to protect the family’s confidentiality by always getting parent consent before turning on your camera and by destroying the videos when you’re done.  I’d love to hear from you if you have used one of these strateiges with families or if you try out one of these ideas. Do you have other creative ways you use videos? Share your ideas in the comments or shoot me an email and I’ll do the sharing for you: dcchildress@vcu.edu

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2 Comments to “Peeking into Real Life: Videotaping Routines between EI Visits”

  1. These are great ideas, Dana! As a provider that participates in several assessments each week, we’ve occasionally had parents or caregivers share with us videos of things their child might be doing related to their concerns which has been helpful as we are trying to get the best picture of the child’s overall development in a short period of time. It’s also helpful if that child just doesn’t want to cooperate during the actual assessment- or with the younger ones, falls asleep! I’ve had nannies of typically developing children who attend my playgroup show me videos of behaviors they are concerned about which helps me determine if a referral to our program or child find is needed and/or to provide suggestions. And also gives them information to communicate to the childs parent/their employer. It makes me wonder what we did before ‘smart’ phones…

    • Great points, Patty! Yes, video can be a great way to see a behavior in action that you just can’t capture when you’re in the home! I’ve also used video personally when my son was sick to show the doctor what he was doing. Without the video, the doctors didn’t know what was going on. WITH the video, they figured out it was a rare thing called benign febrile myoclonus (fever-related muscle jerks that looked like a seizure). Thankfully he outgrew it but in my case, video was a powerful tool to get help!

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