Having a child with autism is a lot of work. But you can make it a lot easier, effective and affordable by creating an organized system so that you can easily reference important documents as well as prioritize interventions.
Storing Your Child's Documents
- Options: Binders, filing folders in cabinets and/or electronic files
- Electronic: It can be a wise investment to purchase a scanner with a document feed so you can convert all your documents to PDFs. It is highly recommended that you create an archive (DVD or CD) to store outside of your home or use an archiving service such as Carbonite.com or Mozy.com.
- Organize your files chronologically by date.
- Sections to start with:
- Medical records
- State Agency files
- School District (IEP) documents
Never take originals out of your home!
Gathering Your Child's Documents
- School District: Read up at Wrightslaw.com on how to request your child's educational file.
- State Agency: Write a letter/fax/email to your caseworker, social worker or program manager to request your child's file.
- Medical: Call the office to find out if they want a letter of request or have a form that you can fill out.
- Be, stay, live organized or die by paperwork!
Don't Get Overwhelmed
To stay organized and on track, just start with two lists:
- Short: 2-3 items accomplishable in 1-2 weeks
- Long: the list you pull from when the shortlist is done
Remember: you are NOT alone! If you are getting overwhelmed, turn to a parent mentor who has been there, done that!
Making Wise Choices
From Lynn Hamilton, parent and author of Facing Autism
- Try not to be overwhelmed
- Evaluate your child
- Evaluate treatment options
- Talk with other parents
- Talk with more than one doctor
- Determine your motivation (emotions versus logic)
- Begin Testing
- Determine your child’s baseline & how to determine progress
- Begin one treatment at a time
- Re-evaluate every few months
Where Are We All Going?
We are trying to achieve our children’s true potential with the final destination unknown. Our children are not a diagnosis; they are children with a promising future AND we will never give up.
Always looking for new resources to add to the puzzle picture. The goal is often recovery, but if not achievable, keep the back-pocket goal of increased independence.
You did not sign up for the autism journey, but you are here. Remember that redisposition/diagnosis does not mean a pre-determination of the future
Although you are now on a different path; it may be the most gratifying journey you have ever been on and for the best cause of your life.
It Takes Courage
To be of HEART
To let go of FEAR
Not to be afraid to see and speak the truth
To let love be your driving force, not anger
To live life as everything is a miracle
To see uniqueness, beauty & perfection in our children
Remember: The journey of a thousand miles begins with ONE STEP (that is today!)
Source: Dr. Anju Usman
Autism Journey Blueprints
Parent Mentor Program
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