Thursday, June 22, 2017

Paperwork Organization

All special needs parents know about paperwork. Anytime you call a doctor, therapist, or school, they need to know endless list of info- social security numbers, diagnosis along with when and who did the diagnosing, copies of reports and medication information.

I overhauled Chelsea's files early on, and maybe spend 5 minutes a day keeping up with them now. It is very manageable and SO EASY to find things! Here is what I do:

Being Organized Benefits
When I meet therapists/ doctors now, they are astounded by all the info I have on hand. I usually walk into an appointment with two "Chelsea binders" in tow, and copies of the "Chelsea Charts" for them.

Benefit #1 is that when I do that, I usually get zero problems with the professionals NOT taking me seriously, and I had a pediatrician that was more than happy to sign off anything and everything I put in front of him- parking passes, tests to order, doctors notes for IEP meetings, everything.

Benefit #2 is that anytime I have a call, I know exactly where to find all of Chelsea's information. I have found that if I don't have all the information right here right now, doors are shut. When I was signing up Chelsea for the Medicaid waiting list, they asked for her SS#, as well as for the doctors that diagnosed her and when. I had all the info right there and waiting, so instead of playing phone tag for 3 days,  and being on hold for hours, I had her signed up in 10 minutes.

Another Way To Organize
If you don't like organizing things chronologically, another way to manage it would be to sort by category. Get some 3 ring binders label them- doctors, school, contact log, insurance/ government programs.

  • Keep a running list of past, present, and future doctors
    • Names, addresses, phone, fax
    • Specialty, dates seen by doctor
    • Diagnosis, tests, evaluations, medicines prescribed
    • Questionnaires filed out
    • Results of evaluations, tests, lab work
    • Any treatment or therapy prescribed
    • Date prescribed
    • Amount to be given/ side effects
  • Business cards/ appointment cards

  • Name, address, main and fax numbers
  • Grades attended or attending
  • Copies of full individual evaluations
  • Questionnaires filled out
  • Copy of IEP
  • Documentation of behavior, dates of incidents
  • Report cards and progressive reports
  • School work- strong and weak points
  • Sample of school work
  • Goals

Other Support Systems- Medicaid, insurance, etc
  • Name of organization
  • Contact person of the organization/ business cards
  • Interaction with that organization (contact log)
  • Benefits and downfalls

Gallon Zip-Lock Bag
  • Hold cards, brochures, literature
  • Letters, emails
  • Art work/ school work

Always, always, always send copies, NEVER the originals! I remember for one of Chelsea's early appointments, I mailed an 83 page document and it GOT LOST in the mail, so I had to redo it, and re-look up all of her information. Probably why I am hyper-organized now.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

SATB2 Summer Schedule

I love summer! It is my favorite time of the year- pools, parks, library trips, lazy board game days at home- I like it all! 
also enjoy having the kids home, and in order to keep up with Chelsea's therapy and education, I do an informal homeschool as well.

We put together a schedule where the mornings are devoted to having fun, getting in private therapy, and going on little outings to splash pads or parks. The afternoons are for learning. Saturdays are for the big all-day outings, or just chilling at home and doing nothing at all.

  • Library
  • Park and picnic
  • Speech therapy
During the library visits, I really make sure that Chelsea does mostly everything herself to work on self-help skills: returning books, finding new ones, checking out, etc.

The park is for fun and gross motor. If I feel particularly ambitious one day, I will bring things for a gross motor game that the school therapists have recommended. For the picnic, Chelsea has to pack her own in the morning (part of her morning routine), open everything herself, and take care of trash, close containers, etc.

  • Occupational therapy
  • Pool

I really like the occupational therapist that Chelsea sees. They do lots of heavy work, climbing different structures, lifting up while prone in a hammock, fine motor, gross motor, craniosacral therapy... If and when I go back for a masters degree, I would seriously consider being an OT.

  • Speech therapy
  • Playgroup
  • Life skill outing
In speech therapy 2-3 times/ week, Chelsea's SLP uses a combination of visual prompts, the K-SLP apraxia method, and PROMPT techniques to work on goals like increasing MLU (how many words in a sentence), clarity of words, etc.

I also take her to a church playgroup to get exposure to kids other than her brother for social skills. Chelsea tends to attract kids willing to play with her, but rarely does she reciprocate, so they will leave. We are working on that.

We also do a life skill outing, such as ordering for herself at a restaurant, making a purchase at the dollar store with her chore money, etc. Something she would need to do in the community as she ages.

  • Occupational therapy
  • Park

  • Speech therapy
  • Splash pad or pool

Monday, June 5, 2017

SATB2 Library Trips

Keeping with the theme of functional skills for this summer, every Monday morning means a trip to the library! Chelsea LOVES books, so is very motivated to go choose new books, audio books, and a video each week. And yes, she usually wears princess dresses out and about. Why not, right?

At the very beginning of the summer, I took Chelsea and her brother to the library to get their very own library card. And I was SUPER proud- after years of practicing writing her name, Chelsea was able to write hers on her library card ALL BY HERSELF!!!

I also had Chelsea pick out her own library bag (big surprise which bag she picked!) and tied on a cheap lanyard from the store to hold her library card so she wouldn't lose it, and her bag stays right by the front door where her school backpack lives during the school year. The card never even has to leave the lanyard because it scans right though during checkout and won't get lost!!!

When we go to the library, Chelsea is in charge. She has to return her books, look for new ones, and if she wants help, she can ask me or the librarian. She usually asks both of us during her visit!

I made a paper Chelsea can give to the librarian and point to a type of book she wants, and the librarian works hard to pick out words Chelsea is trying to say. I have found that putting that little introduction at the beginning helps a lot with people being willing to be patient and help her. There are so many great people in the world!

After selecting her own books, she is in charge of taking her books to the librarian to check out, and carries her own bag. It is wonderful to watch her be in charge of things, and have pride that she can do things for herself!

My goal for Chelsea is that she will learn to do things for herself, like go to the library, make a menu/ list and go grocery shopping, have good hygiene skills, learn to cook, etc. Things to help her live an independent and fulfilling life. I want her to be happy, and I can see how rewarding it is for her to do things for herself.