Keeping detailed records of the various aspects of your child's life is important when your child has a disability. With the numerous appointments and forms to complete, it may be difficult to remember everything and keep the details straight. Keeping detailed records becomes a huge asset when faced with additional sets of questions to answer from providers and physicians.
Creating a notebook that chronicles your child's development is useful when talking with professionals about your child. Many times you will be asked by professionals to provide the dates of various developmental milestones. Being able to summarize your child's developmental progress will be key during educational planning meetings. Keeping this information in a developmental notebook can help you keep track of your child's progress and make answering those questions easier.
- An interactive developmental milestones checklist is available from the Centers for Disease Control. The checklist provides a way to easily keep track of your child's development. The pages, once created, can be printed for easy inclusion in your developmental notebook.
- Communicating Your Child's Strengths and Challenges provides ideas on various ways to summarize your child's development.
Since health issues many times coexist with developmental issues, it also is helpful to keep a medical notebook summarizing your child's health history. Children with special needs and/or health concerns typically see numerous physicians in addition to having many medical tests. As a parent, it can be difficult to remember all of the details without committing them to paper.
Creating a medical notebook is a fast and easy way to chronicle your child's health history. All it takes is a three-ring binder and dedication to keep track of your child's medical progression.
How to Create a Medical Notebook:
- Write in the notebook every time your child visits a doctor. Include the date, the doctor's name and location, the reason for the visit and a quick summary of the outcome of the visit.
- Include dated entries for each medical test performed on your child, as well as where it occurred.
- Make a separate notation that documents the dates of illnesses and routine immunizations.
This type of medical notebook becomes a historical diary of your child's health. Keeping a medical notebook will help you to fill out health history forms and to accurately communicate health issues to new physicians.
Parents are active participants in their child's educational planning, so it is important to document your child's educational progress. Creating a notebook that records all of the information surrounding your child's education can be an invaluable resource when questions arise, when it's time to develop the next Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Program (IEP), or when a new professional becomes involved with your child's development.
How to Create an Educational Notebook:
- Keep copies of all evaluations, IFSPs and IEPs, observational records, permission slips for evaluations, therapy progress notes, etc.
- Record notes from phone conversations, meetings, or emails with the education professional(s) involved with your child
- Keep notes on what has worked in your child's classroom - modifications / adaptations, support strategies, natural supports, assistive technologies, etc.
"Illinois Student Records Keeper," (PDF) developed by the Illinois State Board of Education, is an additional way to organize and record important information regarding your child's education.