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Organizing a notebook for LD and AD/HD records and resources

Setting up a system to stay organized saves time and energy when you're busy advocating for your child with special needs.

By Robbie Fanning, M.A.

As your child with learning or attention problems grows up, you will probably work with many experts throughout the journey. You will need to collect your child’s school records, including report cards, Individualized Education Program (IEP) documents (if applicable), and other school-related information. Setting up a resource notebook will help you keep track of all those little pieces of paper and information.

We suggest creating a two-part notebook. The first half is like an idea book, where you can keep documents and notes about possible places to contact for referrals or help. The second half of the notebook lists the actual people and groups who you have decided to contact because they might be able to help your child or direct you to someone who can. It’s also a place to keep any notes you take when you make those contacts.

First half of your resource notebook: ideas

1. Set up a 3-ring binder.

You will need:

  • A three-ring binder at least 1-inch thick
  • Plenty of lined, three-hole blank paper
  • A set of index tab dividers, preferably with “pockets” to hold loose documents, brochures, etc.

2. Label the index tabs first.

These will represent sources where you will look for information:

  • People/Professionals
  • Organizations
  • Print Publications
  • Internet
  • Other

3. Fill the binder with blank paper.

Put plenty of blank paper in each section, as well as some before the first tab.

Second half of your resource notebook: notes on contacts

Now you are ready to call people, contact organizations, consult print sources, or research on the Internet. As you collect leads on tutors, advocates, lawyers, doctors, or whoever you need to contact, you will need to store your notes from each call. That’s where the second half of your resource notebook comes in handy.

4. Add tabs as you make contacts and gather information.

Either before or at the time you make contacts with various groups or individuals, add new tabs in your resource notebook for the categories you need, such as tutors, schools, assessment, etc. You may, for example, collect notes on three possible counselors, so you would make a tab called Counselors and file the papers behind the tab divider. Likewise, set up sections for doctors, tutors, schools, or whatever else your child needs. As you start calling people, take notes on separate pieces of paper, date your notes, and file them by category.

5. Keep it handy.

Decide where to keep your notebook and have plenty of pens and pencils nearby. A handy place might be near the phone or computer.

6. Create a portable notebook.

You will probably want to take a smaller notebook (similar to a resource binder) to conferences, meetings, and seminars, Use it to collect information and documents at those appointments and events, then transfer the information to your more comprehensive resource binder when you get home.


Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

10/27/2011:
"When a child learns to organize a notebook to write their statements, points of view, and to show an interest in reading. The content of their writing becomes enriching, and will assimilate the purpose of educational text. "
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