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Archived ADDvice Newsletters

September 2005

Welcome to ADDvice for ADD-Friendly Living


For Parents of Children with AD/HD - An ADD-Friendly Way to Organize Your Child's Educational Records

In previous issues of ADDvice, we talked about your getting finances and tax papers organized; parents should take this same concept and apply it to their children’s educational records, especially if their child has special learning needs such as AD/HD.

Here’s what Carol Sadler, an educational consultant and advocate, recommends:

I typically recommend dividing a 3-inch notebook into 6 SECTIONS, and putting all records in chronological order with most recent on top in each section. Put a divider between each year in each section. It is also very important to keep a duplicate copy of these records in separate place. You should also make a copy for attorneys/advocates/physicians or therapists. This way, you do not have to take them in and out of your notebook.

SECTIONS should be clearly marked and include:

  1. SCHOOL RECORDS - contains IEP's, 504's, meeting notices, Parent Request Letters, and communication/e-mails to school and from school district.
  2. FORMAL TESTING RESULTS (school and private) - Psychological, Medical, Neuropsychological Reports, and OT, PT, Speech/Language evaluations, etc. should be kept here.
  3. REPORT CARDS, Progress Reports, Standardized Tests (ITBS, IOWA, COGAT, etc), IEP Goal Updates.
  4. WORK SAMPLES, informal teacher notes, etc.
  5. DUE PROCESS DOCUMENTS & State Complaint Records.
  6. MISC - Bills, Draft IEP's.

It is important that you be able to flip to your information quickly and you have it handy at every school meeting. That way, when the schools officials say they didn't receive something, you can give them another copy, or quickly dispute what they have stated. I can't tell you how important it is to be organized and prepared in your meetings. Make the time to organize now, and as you go along throughout the year. Don't wait until the last minute. Do a little at a time. Keep a hole-punch available and keep school records in one place as they arrive.

Once your child gets older and your notebook grows too large, it is best to continue this same concept, but have one notebook with just the current and last year's information in it. Every third year, pull out the older year's info and put in another notebook (which should be easy to do if you have used sub-dividers by year).

In addition, I also recommend you keep an expandable 3 inch folder to accumulate your child's daily school work. Label it and date it. Keep one for each year. Keep a sample of everything. You never know when you might need it. Keep artwork, drawings, writing assignments, tests, and all school work returned. Keep it in chronological order, with the most recent one in front. Just keep adding to the front as it comes in. Copy and put only a FEW work samples in your educational folder.

Every year you should also ask to review your child's educational file at school to make sure you have a copy of everything in that file. Don't ask for just a copy of the file, ask to go in and see it yourself. Make sure you have everything, and nothing is being hidden from you. Make an appointment with the school, don't just drop in. Ask for copies of anything you don't have. The school must provide you ONE FREE copy of everything in your child's file.

Carol Sadler is a Special Education Consultant/Advocate. Her website has lots of valuable information for parents of children with ADHD.

Books for Helping Kids Get Organized?

When we asked about these, here is what some readers had to say...

Putting on the Brakes and the companion workbook for kids 8 and up through teenagers. My own son (9) even has gained quite a bit of insight about himself by using it this summer. He enjoyed it. He pulled it off my shelf, and started filling it out and referring to it. It's also thorough on basic living and social skills as well.

For teens, I recommend "Study Skills Made Easy" by Davis et al, Help4ADD@High School by Kathleen Nadeau, and School Strategies for ADD Teens.

Also be sure to check out two additions to the Focus Series:


Parents Helping Kids with AD/HD at Home


School Issues When Kids Have AD/HD


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