Spring has arrived and with it, the urge to straighten up the house and prepare for summer travels. One important item that should be on your checklist is time to organize your child’s medical and academic records. Keeping your records current and accessible is not just for the tidy-at-heart folks who relish clear desk tops or room to work on the kitchen counter. For families of children who receive therapy or learning support services, it can be an essential part of being an effective advocate and responsible caregiver.
The ability to quickly review the history within your child’s records can help to illuminate progress, goals that still need to be met (or met again), and techniques that have or have not been effective. Having ready access to information will help you present your ideas to service providers or ask questions with confidence, contributing to an atmosphere of respect and professionalism at school meetings, doctor visits, therapy sessions, or other encounters with the professionals in your child’s life. When the inevitable paperwork snafus happen—lost files, records that don’t get transferred—many headaches can be avoided when you are able to quickly retrieve copies from your own files. Perhaps the most critical reason for keeping a well-structured filing system is so someone else could step into your shoes and continue managing the services for your child in the event you are no longer able to.
Most of the critical documentation will fall into the categories of education, healthcare & financial records, as well as information for caregivers. Useful documents include observations from other adults who have a personal relationship with your child, articles about your child’s diagnosis, reports on scientifically-based teaching methods, and a list of tips on ‘what works’ for your child. Receipts, insurance statements, and other financial documents are an important part of your record keeping.
Getting started is often one of the greatest obstacles to getting organized. A good initial goal is to create a summary sheet that contains the basics: name, age, address, phone, identification numbers, emergency contacts, diagnoses, contact information for providers including doctors, school personnel, therapists, and other support professionals. Also list medications with dosage instructions, allergies, and insurance information. Breaking large tasks into smaller projects or stages can make it easier to tackle the effort to consolidate and update your child’s records.
What to keep:
- Signed release of information forms
- Annual school student handbook
- Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
- Report cards and IEP progress reports
- Standardized test results
- Evaluations and behavioral assessments
- Copies of your child’s school records including attendance and any disciplinary file entries
- Journal entries on your child’s behavior or development
- Correspondence (letters, email, informal notes)
- Notes from meetings
- Contact log (record of conversations, incoming and outgoing phone calls)
- Samples of school work (best, worst, and typical)
- Medical records, including information about all medications
- Therapists’ reports
- Receipts and billing statements
How Can We Help?
Whether you are preparing for appointments over the summer with professionals in your home country, getting ready to repatriate, catching up with your insurance provider, or simply resolving to organize all of the paperwork that accompanies parenting, we can help if your child receives services at Olivia’s Place. We are committed to maintaining clinical files to internationals standards to ensure excellent continuity of care, regardless of where you are in the world. Please contact us if we can answer any questions or be of assistance with respect to your child’s clinical records or Olivia’s Place financial documentation.