Friday, January 22, 2010

Organizing the Special Education File: Why to start early

I'm starting to organize my child's special education file. As a parent with ADD, I know I need to start the organization process early, before it becomes overwhelming. I also know that, for me, it's more important that I have a system and stick with it than that I find the "perfect" system.

As an attorney and advocate, I know the importance of documentation and record-keeping. DH will be upset at me for thinking this far ahead – he says I jump to the worst-case scenario. I, however, would rather be prepared, and I don't think this is the same as expecting the worst. I have experience preparing for due process hearings and helping parents when things go south. The special education file is very large by this time, and preparing the paperwork can be a nightmare! I wish that this would not happen to any family, and I do not expect it to happen to mine. However, I want the special education file to be in order so that, if we should need it, it will be accessible in a format we need it later.

The final reason I want to organize the special education file is for my son. As a child, I did not fully realize I was receiving special education services. I did not know, or care, what my IEP was at the time; it was just part of growing up. When I was an adult and trying to figure myself out better, I went back to these old records. Reading the old IEPs and notes helped me to understand what therapies I needed at the time, and what accommodations I need now to function. My son may or may not want these notes, but that will be his choice when he grows up.

Next post: How I am organizing the Special Education File

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for stopping by my blog today! I just want to say I completely agree with you about organizing your records. I'm doing the same thing with all of Paddy's medical information and IFSP. You never know when you might need the information in front of you, and it may prove invaluable to your son when he's older. Just today, Paddy's speech therapist asked to see a copy of his IFSP and I was able to put my hands on it immediately. Because of his complicated medical history (Congenital Heart Defect w/ 2 surgeries, among other things) whenever we have a middle of the night ER visit, it is so helpful to just be able to hand the nurse a paper with his diagnoses, surgical history, doctor's information, medication schedule, etc. so that she can fill out her paperwork and I can focus on being there with my child! I look forward to reading about how you're organizing his file (and possibly borrowing information for my own system). :)