It’s that time of the month for another “Ask Kathryn” question from a reader! Today’s question is a good one, and one that I have been meaning to blog about. It’s about how to organize your child’s special needs paperwork and I hope that you special needs moms out there find it helpful too!
My son has been diagnosed as developmentally delayed, at risk for autism, and SPD. We have just started this journey and I was wondering if there is a way you organize the huge paper trail that comes with being a parent of a special needs little one? I feel like its a never ending pile of evaluations, goals, insurance, etc. and I was wondering if you have an efficient way of keeping it all together?
I am so glad you asked this! This is one of those things that has been hard for me too, but having organization is so important as I have needed to know exactly where certain evaluations or referrals were at a moment’s notice! Everyone is different, but here is the best way that has worked for me:
How to Organize Your Child’s Special Needs Paperwork
What You Need:
- Several folders and binders
- Sheet protectors
- Page separators
- Masking tape
I bought a binder for each therapy my son has that has a lot paperwork. He is in 4 different therapies, but his ABA is all online so no folder needed. I bought one for Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Feeding Therapy. I also bought several folders for other things that pertained to my son’s special needs, but that did not require as much paperwork – I use one for respite care, and one for IEP and school paperwork.
At the beginning of each binder, I put my son’s evaluations. He has more than one in each because his evaluations get updated once a year. I keep them together because those are usually the most asked for paperwork! After that I put all the other paperwork that goes with each therapy in the corresponding binder. Each of these pages is in a sheet protector so I can easily slide them in and out as I need them. I also use masking tape to label each binder and folder.
Here are some examples: in the Occupational Therapy binder, I have all the paperwork we collected from his therapist with helpful tips and such. Things like body awareness tips, sensory diet activities, and his short-term and long-term goals. For the Speech binder I have paperwork such as “What is Apraxia” information, and building and promoting communication tips.
Next, I took all my son’s medical paperwork and got a huge binder and named it “Medical & Miscellaneous.” In there, I keep anything medical related. I have his autism evaluation, tests results for things such as his allergy testing, and endoscopy, and other miscellaneous paperwork such as child development tips, patient handbooks, and information on other therapy services we might be able to take advantage of in the future.
These binders and folders can be organized by date as they get bigger, and keep in mind that depending on how much paperwork you have, you have to buy a big binder later on! For insurance referrals, I keep those separate in a small filing cabinet. You may want to keep these in each binder that they go in, but we have so many it was just too much and I decided to keep them somewhere else separately.
I hope this helps answer your question!
To other special needs moms: How do you organize your child’s special needs paperwork?