University of Edinburgh

Early Support Developmental Journal for Babies and Children with Visual Impairment

presented on Friday 7 December 2007

Practical issues in working with the Journal

Alison Salt

New challenges for joint working in England?

  • The Developmental Journal 'belongs' to the parent
  • It has been developed within the wider Early Support programme - bringing in new 'partners' and stakeholders (Early Years workers)

Issues to consider

Service model delivery: different potential models

Working together with parents

1. Parent and Early Years workers

2. Parent and health / education specialist services

3. Parent and multiple partners

4. A Care pathway

Challenges for implementation

  • Integrating the use of materials into existing practice
  • to consider how best to use limited time available
  • to find ways to support different families to use the materials in a diverse and multi-ethnid society
  • how to share Journal information (using the Journal in the Team around the child)

The team around the child will have a Key Worker who liaises between the Family & Developmental Journal and the team (eg; Extended family, OT, Physiotherapist, SALT, HV, Paediatrician, Specialist service for VI, Educational Psychologist, Eye clinic, Portage worker, Teacher VI)

  • Periodic joint review
  • Other assesments
  • Family Service Plans

Challenges for services

  • Early identification of children with VI
  • Early involvement of specialist teachers for children with VI and / or other professionals
  • Training in early child development, VI and in the materials and partnership working with families
  • Agreeing who will take on the key worker role
  • Continuing good communication between all partners
  • Setting up systems that support partnership working

The organisational support: other issues to resolve

  • Coordinated inter-agency system for delivery of Journal
  • Policy for working with parents and families
  • Managerial and team support
  • Training in use of the Journal -
  • Support structure and supervision
  • Staffing capacity and allocation

Using the developmental journal - options

  • developing flexible approaches to using the Journal in ways that suit individual situations
  • manageable 'chunks'
  • frequence of filling in the Journal
  • how do professionals keep a record
  • what to do if an area is lagging behind - negotiating priorities

many options


  • complete all or some of the Journal on an ongoing basis with or without support
  • complete at regular intervals with or without support
  • ask (or give permission) to professionals to complete it on their behalf, but with them

At request of family - professionals complete, checking with them that the examples fit what families believe to be true and see.

Challenges for parents

  • Finding out about the Developmental Journal
  • Exercising choice about how they use it
  • Feeling their contribution and insights are valued

Which model reflects your local situation?

  • What would be your ideal model?
  • What are the opportunities for implementing this model?
  • What are the difficulties / threats?

In your ideal model

  • Who might introduce the Journal to the parent?
  • Who would be the key worker supporting the parent in using the Journal?
  • How would health / education / specialist and generic services work together in the delivery?

Messages from parents using the Developmental Journal

"It also helped us understand what to expect and how to plan for the months ahead"

"The Journal is a fantastic idea - it is a great tool that has boosted my confidence in my son's ability to learn as well as my ability to do the best for him as a mother"

"The Activity cards are particularly useful and can be copied and shared with grandparents, other people involved like health visitors and therapists, and child-minders so everyone is doing the same thing"

"As a distillation of good practice, the developmental journal provides us with experience on tap whenever we need it. Just knowing it is there is reassuring."