Give a Care Notebook: A Gift that Keeps Giving!

Families that have special needs children are typically overwhelmed with school, medical and therapy reports that need to be easily accessible when when requested for Independent Education Planning sessions, progress evaluations and for filing insurance claims. Giving your family a Care Notebook, may be the best gift they will receive for years to come.  It helps them to organize the huge amount of paperwork they have and relieves a lot of stress.  It is easy to find the components at any office supply store and should cost approximately $25. Here’s how you can make one:

Care Notebook Contents

  • A plain 3-ring binder with 2 inch rings.  To personalize the binder, select one with a clear pocket on the front where you can insert a picture of your grandchild.
  • A notebook 3-hole punch, a small stapler, colored small “post it” note pads, a highlighter pen and paper clips
  • A 3-hole vinyl business card holder
  • A vinyl pen/supply pocket holder with zipper
  • Notebook index dividers with 10 sections
Suggested Categories for Index Tabs
  • Emergency Information
  • Medical Records
  • Education Reports
  • Therapies
  • Insurance Claims
  • Local Service Agencies
  • Autism Resources
  • Activities
  • Child Care/Respite Help, If applicable
  • Extra Blank Tabs can be filled in by Parents
Assembling the Notebook
Place the 3 ring hole punch at the front of the notebook and add the additional vinyl pockets for supplies and business cards.  Put the stapler, “post it” notes, pens, clips, etc. in the supply pocket.

Label the dividers with the appropriate categories and place them behind the vinyl pockets in the notebook.

Offer to Help Organize and File the Records

If possible, offer to help sort and file the paperwork in the notebook with the most recent reports on the top.  Set aside, but do not discard duplicates, or any of the paperwork.  Label them so that your children can decide what to do with the extra copies.

You may want to purchase additional binders.  Some families have a binder for every year, but the current academic year is typically the main focus for schools, physicians and therapists to review.  If you are mailing the Care Notebook, consider using a USPS flat rate box.

GAN’s Volunteer Care Notebook Project

GAN collaborates with the Regional Center of Orange County’s Comfort Connection in providing the Care Notebook Project for families that have children with all disabilities.  Volunteers work one-on-one, helping parents to organize medical, school, therapy, and other information into binders to enable them to be better prepared for emergencies, insurance claims, annual Independent Education Plan (IEP) meetings, doctors appointments, service provider evaluations, etc.

Adult volunteers help at workshops throughout Orange County, which may be scheduled for mornings, afternoons or evenings.   They assist in sorting and organizing family records chronologically, using binders  which include dividers and information about available resources.   The materials are bilingual, in both English and Spanish.

Care Notebook workshops can be scheduled for 12 or more participants. Contact GAN to learn more about the project or to schedule a workshop.

Develop New Adult Resources

It is estimated that 90% of autism resources in the U.S. are allocated for children under the age of ten years old.  Early diagnosis and therapies have been helpful for young children, however, when they enter their teen years, new concerns emerge about their quality of life in adulthood.

Autism experts predict that a virtual “tsunami” of young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders will soon overwhelm the existing resources as they seek medical care, post secondary education, employment, transportation, housing and recreation. In order to help to avert this crisis in the Orange County CA community, GAN is collaborating with other organizations to address these issues now.  The following suggestions may help you to advocate for the development of additional adult supports in your community:

   1. Identify government agencies and nonprofit organizations in your region that focus on providing programs and services for people with developmental disabilities.  In the U.S., visit the Autism Speaks website here to locate autism resources in your community. There may already be task forces or projects underway in which you can participate.

   2. Ask autism professionals and family support groups where the gaps and barriers are in current autism services and programs. Recruit other people who will work with you to develop new resources to meet those needs.

   3. Contact local and national elected officials to encourage their sponsorship of legislation and funding for lifetime resources.    Autism Votes has information about current legislative actions in the U.S. and you can advocate online and in other ways.  Some adult resources, like housing, will take years to develop.
Act now to ensure the best quality of life for your grandchildren in adulthood.
GAN Speakers Bureau
Increase Understanding About Autism

You may request a psychologist, professional service provider or family member for a presentation to your business, community and philanthropic organizations.  Topics inform about autism and how it impacts our Orange County community today:

What is autism and how is it diagnosed?
What are the early signs of autism: What treatments are available?
The Autism Epidemic: The search for possible causes.

Autism: How it affects families, schools and the workplace.
Helping children embrace differences: How can we prevent bullying?

Employing people with autism: What are the benefits?
How can OC best support people with developmental disabilities?

Please contact GAN for additional topics and to schedule a presentation.

Special Needs Acceptance Project for Teen Volunteers
Help to Prevent Bullying and Earn Community Service Credits
Help to Prevent Bullying and Earn Community Service Credits

Orange County Junior High, High School and College Students Can Earn Community Service Credits, HELP TO PREVENT BULLYING and increase support, especially for people with developmental disabilities.

Introduce a book that teaches children to accept and befriend others who may look or act differently. You will contact leaders of youth groups, clubs, after school programs, churches and synagogues in your OWN community … on your OWN schedule. If the leaders agree to present the book to children ages 5-12, the Grandparent Autism Network will donate a book and a teaching guide for them to use with their group.


Download a flyer below …  For more information, please contact: or call (714) 573-1500

Documents for Download
TeenVolOp (PDF)