One of the most helpful pieces of advice I got when Killian was in the testing stages was to get 2 binders. One for medical and one for school. That has been the best suggestion I have ever gotten.
This life filled with multiple doctors, multiple therapists, and many school meetings is very chaotic and hard to keep track of. With all of the Release of Information forms, waiting for each office to be able to communicate with each other, having a binder with me at each appointment filled with progress notes and visit summaries has made each appointment not only faster, but much easier because I already have all of the current information on my child at the ready for whoever is needing it.
For every IEP meeting I go to, I have both medical nad education binders that I can pull from. My education binder has current IEP papers, notes about things that I want to discuss with the teachers and therapists, and any notes or suggestions from his medical team.
For each binder you should have a binder sheet protectors and tabbed section dividers.
For the medical binder, I have a sheet of paper on the front with every doctor’s and therapist’s business card glued to it. On top it has my son’s name and age. Each year he has a different binder. I have found that having a couple of ROIs for each office is important and a time saver whenever a new doctor, therapist, or school personnel is in need of one. Communication is vital in order to get the proper care for your child. I also have a copy of my son’s insurance card in the binder in case my parents or another family member are needing to take him to an appointment that I am unable to make. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often. Plus, if anything were to ever happen to me, my husband will have all of the contact information for everyone on Killian’s care team and be able to get up to date with what he will need to be doing.
For the IEP binder, have a paper on the cover of the binder with your child’s name, age, grade, teacher’s name, and school name. You should have 6 tabs and label them as the following:
- Communication- Have a contact sheet with everyone’s name, email address, and phone number. For Killian, I have the principal, SPED (special education) director, teacher, instructional assistant, SLP, and OT’s information. Next, a communication log. This is important so you can keep track of all meeting times and any notes from phone or email conversations.
- Evaluations- Start this section with any referrals or requests for evals followed by your consent to eval. Next come the evaluation reports. If your child has any private evaluations from therapists, include a copy of those here as well. These will come in handy when the school therapist(s) are needing to evaluate your child and come up with goals for the year.
- IEP- At the beginning of every IEP meeting you should be offered a copy of your rights and procedural safeguards. If you have not received these, you need to make sure to obtain a copy immediately and let the SPED director know that they were never given to you. In this section you will have a copy of your child’s IEP and written prior notice in front of each new copy of an updated IEP. IEPs need to be updated annually unless you or the school staff believe that changes need to be made to either create or revise accommodations.
- Report Cards/Progress Notes- federal law states in the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) that you need to be updated on your child’s progress towards the upcaming IEP meeting. You can always create a goal tracker for your child and keep it in this file.
- Sample Work- Use this section to file samples of your child’s homework or classwork that show signs of progress or concern. It’s a good idea to file samples at least monthly. It will also be a helpful reminder to you of all of the good work you are doing for your child.
- Behavior- Start this section with a copy of the school’s code of conduct. Some teachers may have also sent home class-specific behavior plans and rules. Keep copies of these here too.If your child has a behavior intervention plan or behavior contract (504 Plan), file it next in this section. This is also the place to file disciplinary notices, if your child receives any. Why keep these in your IEP binder? Because kids have additional rights and protection if the behavior they’re disciplined for could be related to their disability.
Make sure to have some blank binder paper and a pen/pencil as well in your binder. This will come in handy to make any notes or reminders about hings that come up during the IEP meeting.
Hopefully, this was helpful and will leave you feeling a little bit less frazzled when the time comes for meetings and appointment.
-The Lazy Mama