Your Special Education Binder

September 22, 2011

For those of you involved in any level of special education negotiations for your child, whether it be for a 504 Plan or an IEP, the likelihood is you are accumulating quite a paper trail. Accumulating (probably in a folder), are all the  IEP’s, standardized test reports, medical evaluations, school email correspondences, etc., that have taken a dent out of the rain forest.

If you are falling on the disorganized side of the continuum, one of the most effective things you can do for yourself is to help bring a semblance of structure to the material that has accumulated. Do yourself a favor. Go to your local office supply store and purchase one of those very large three ringed binders, along with a packet of dividers. 
Then do the following:
       1.   Relax. Take a deep breath as you start to go through all of the papers. Perhaps, pour yourself a glass of wine   (ok, green tea if you prefer).
  1. Pull out all of the reports and papers that you have accumulated and sort them into categories, i.e.,  IEP’s, previous reports, standardized test results, report cards, email correspondence, or any other such category that seems to emerge.
  1. Put the papers in chronological order with the oldest material on the bottom to the newest on top. 
  1. Put all of these into your new special education binder in the appropriate sections..
Much of dealing with special education is a process of negotiation. The more organized you are, the better you will advocate and negotiate. Additionally, outside professionals will be able to more easily see what’s been done with the child and what may be an appropriate next step. The binder becomes your child’s collected story in chronological order.
Now, that was easy!
If only I can organize my own life!


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