Special Needs Binder

I call it an IEP binder because it is for his personal care, but we use it for all things “Nolan.” We updated from Blaze last year to Mickey this year. Mickey clip art and font was purchased for his birthday party so I reused.

IEP renewal time. It puts parents into a bit of a panic. It is stressful….sooooo stressful. Feeling prepared can help with the anxiety but it does not take it away. As a former teacher, I have experience with IEPs. It is a whole different ball game as a parent. Whole different ball game.

This IEP has been moved up drastically from the annual review. Our original IEP date was April 23. Nolan’s teacher (she is an amazing woman who goes above and beyond) noticed (before I did) that his IEP was 3 days before my due date. She went to reschedule and it was moved to March. Then, the speech teacher was talking to his special education teacher and with his huge speech regressions, he was not going to go reach his speech goal and she wanted to rewrite his speech goal in a way we can work towards something for the remainder of the year. They went in and looked at his IEP to discover: since going on the Nemechek protocol he has met all his goals with the exception of that speech one. They asked to move his meeting up to February to re-write speech goal but also to move along his learning and make whole new goals for the remainder of the year! Double edged sword, but a victory is a victory!

To prepare:

  • Get his care plan from speech and ABA therapy so we don’t “double dip” on goals but work off each other.
  • Get medical records of all new test results
  • Get start dates of new protocol (Nemechek)
  • Fill out paper work of what I want to see/Parent interview
  • Make a list of what I want (what is making me nervous and want to work on)
  • Make a list of services we will be providing/seeking in the summer.
  • Compile into the correct tabs in his binder.

This year I am really struggling with the IEP. Prior to this, it was evaluating where he is, where we want him to go and everything in the early childhood/ABA world being about Nolan. Nolan growing, Nolan learning, Nolan moving and checking things off his list. As we move into 4k, it is an academic program. There are standardized assessments (verbal). There is literacy. There is think pair share. There is minimal play time and the play time is educational games. Nolan WILL struggle in this and my heart breaks already knowing how hard these expectations will be for him. Will our school provide supports and help him through it? Yes, absolutely. Is it it still about Nolan and HIS progress? Yes. Will there be standards/benchmarks he is missing and falling behind on and therefore officially falling behind? Yes. I am a teacher I get this, I do, but it is hard. HERE is where the mom in me struggles so so much with this. He’ll go, he’ll grow, they will push, he will grow more. It will be fine. It will not be easy, but it will be fine….for all of us.

As luck would have it our Medicare annual renewal (in Wisconsin this is Katie Beckett) is also up for renewal, so we need to collect all of our paperwork “proving Nolan’s disability.” He was denied when he was 2 because he “was not disabled enough” but at 3 he qualified. At 4, we are up for a renewal but we need to collect everything including IEP, Diagnosis, etc and compile it into this form. The binder is proving to help with that greatly, too!

One page I have found to be a dramatic help is the contacts page. Almost every application for every thing you do (including annual HIPPA renewals) asks for all the people and all their contact info. Having this right as the cover has sped up the process of all the paperwork 10fold. I have covered our peoples contact for confidentiality reasons, but if you are local and want any of it I would be happy to provide that in a message. Putting the diagnosis date/why we see that person also has helped. I also keep past providers on a past contacts page in case someone would happen to need that info as well.

Right behind the contact info is my notebook. I like to have paper at meetings and to record my thoughts in once place. I honestly dont use it much but I do like having access to paper at all times.

The next tab is our School Info tab. I keep the school calendar, school policies, etc in this tab. This works for me to remember what the policies are and have a one stop shop for everything school related.

Next is the IEP tab. In this tab I include the 1) IEP invites, 2) any questionnaires they send to help them fill out the IEP 3) The actual IEP.

Next is school data/report cards. This could also be assessment results. This helps with proving the gap, me to see where we are falling behind and what I want to put on the IEP, as well as provide the information to the state about his “disability” This can be any assessments he gets but at this point, we haven’t done IQ test or anything like this, all testing has been done through the school.

Medical records includes when get get a new diagnosis or after visit summary indicating new information (on medication or disorders). This helps me have dates and “diagnosing doctors and dates.” This is more for financial aspect of the reporting, but, again, we want this binder to cover Nolan as a whole.

Outside Therapies is where I keep ABA, Speech, and Birth-3 (early intervention) records. This helps us to know Nolan as a whole but also double check that none of his goals cross check and do not double dip.

The final tab is the Financial Tab. This is where I keep insurance information, the approval or denial forms from the Katie Beckett, and then the big envelope is the application we were just sent. I put the whole envelope in the binder and when we get more evidence I just slide it in so I can pull it all out when our case worker is here.

This binder made the renewal process very efficient this time around. I was not running around looking for papers, data, etc. It took a lot of time to put it all together but I am glad to have a one thing to grab and sit down with applications or bring with me to the IEP. A one stop shop of sorts. I would be happy to do this in more detail or provide a template if you would need it. Please feel free to comment questions!

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