Parents of children with special needs are often overwhelmed with paper. There are notes from teachers, school report cards, assessment, more assessments, medical records, clinical notes and so much more.
It’s easy for these papers to end up in a big pile or worse, all over the place making finding them when you need them really difficult. If there is one thing I have learned as a parent of children with unique learning differences is that at some point each and every one of those documents will be of some importance.
I started working at reorganizing my growing pile of documents this week. I had them organized at one time. They were in a nice binder with dividers with a colourful table of contents and a picture of my son on the front. I was proud of my binder. I felt more in control, knowing that I could readily access every bit of my son’s medical and educational history to date.
It’s a big hot mess! It’s all out of order and if asked I would have to spend quite a few minutes finding something I would imagine which does only one thing… cause me stress!
So yesterday I started working away at my growing pile of child related documents. It was a big project but having a plan really helped me start to get organized.
I prefer to store our paper in binders with tabs and a table of contents but if this was your project (which it likely should be if your pile looks like mine), you will need to come up with a system that works for you. It may be a folder or a filing cabinet for example. Here are some other tips.
1. Start by sorting your papers into categories. I’ve included a pic of my table of contents below which you can use as a guide or you can come up with a plan that works for you.
2. Organize your papers for each section with the most recent on top of each section and go backwards chronologically from there.
3. Keep things stapled together. If you do any photocopying be sure to staple it back together. Trust me, if you don’t do this these papers will all start to look alike and sorting will be significantly more challenging.
4. I will be adding a file folder at the front of the binder to house the last years recent documents. That way when it comes time for my first meeting this year, I will have the most relevant information easily accessible.
5. Once the binder is full, start a new one following the same format as the first.
Now you may be thinking those tips aren’t anything special. Just common sense right?
For many yes, it is common sense to know that the more organized your child’s documents are the more prepared you’ll be in any circumstance. You will also spend less time looking for that one paper and more time experiencing something joyful. You will be able to easily identify who and what you need to follow up on and in what timeline. Finally, you’ll be able to come to every meeting prepared. Oh what a wonderful feeling!
But honestly the reality is common sense is often over ruled by inaction.
So take action and get your child’s paperwork organized. You will feel more in control when you do. I guarantee it!
If you need more support join us over in my Facebook group. There’s lots of lovely mamas there who would help you out in a heartbeat or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org