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.
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
- Insurance Claims
- Local Service Agencies
- Autism Resources
- 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.