The SLP's Guide to Simplifying Report Writing Using Google Docs

I am currently on my 34th evaluation of the year. It's only April. SOS.
BUT... Did you know Google Docs can save you SO MUCH time when writing reports?

Here are 3 tips for making report writing as quick, simple, and painless as possible-- using Google docs!

1. Observations

Unless you are required to do paper observations, I recommend typing observations into Google Docs. Not only will this method give you one less piece of paper to keep up with, but it also auto-saves as you write AND when the time comes to write your report, you can simply copy and paste the typed observation into your report! 

I know that articulation errors can be difficult to type using a standard keyboard and when I am doing an observation, I do not have time to use this handy IPA keyboard. So instead, I created a sort of shorthand to use within my observations.

If the child is exhibiting a phoneme substitution, I may type something like this:
"The fish(F>S) was fast(F>S).
This would indicate the student's /f/ went to an /s/.

If the child is exhibiting phonological processes, I typically type a key at the bottom of my observation before going into the classroom. It looks something like this :
FR=Fronting, ST=Stopping, GL=Gliding, V=Vowelization, FCD= Final Consonant Deletion
Then beside each error, I would type the code beside the mispronounced word. 
Example: "The kid(FR) went to the store(V) after work(FR, GL)."

2. Create Templates

If you do not already have templates for every test you use, then you're missing out! First, create the bare bones of your report starting with the demographics section, then add headers for the social developmental history, observation, and teacher interview sections.

Next, create a template for each test that you use. Go ahead and create tables for your scores and add in a summary of the test. Leave blanks where you plan to describe the student's strengths and weaknesses within the assessment.

For any section that needs a name/specific age/pronoun/etc, highlight the text so that you don't forget to add in that important information! This keeps you from accidentally skimming past incorrect information when proofreading your report.

All of my templates are created in Google Docs so that I can work on them anytime I have a spare moment and computer access. I also have all of the blank templates located within a Team Google Drive that is shared with the other SLP within my district.

*FYI: I did not create all of the templates I use! Do a Google search to find some great examples of templates, then pick and choose the parts you need to create your own!

3. Voice Typing

This has been the BIGGEST game changer for me. Within Google Docs is a wonderful tool called "Voice Typing". Just give Google Docs access to your microphone (oh yeah, and be sure you're using a computer with a microphone) and you can TELL IT WHAT TO TYPE! I use this for days when I had to do a paper observation and when dictating the parent/teacher interviews.

I also talk about the student's strengths and weaknesses and let Google Docs type it for me.  This has saved me an immense amount of time because I talk so much faster than I type. (And honestly, Google Docs has great voice recognition, especially compared to Siri-- just watch out for the spelling of names!). 

How do you save time when writing reports? Have you used Google Docs?

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