Putting together a file or record of your child’s education needs, letters from the school relating specifically to your child’s education, and other information, is necessary if you want to advocate effectively on behalf of your child.
A three-ring binder is a good way to keep your child’s file organized. You can add, copy and transfer information easily, and use dividers to separate information into different categories.
Most importantly, keeping your records up-to-date and organized will help you to find information easily if there is a problem.
Keep this file at home, and take it with you to meetings at your child’s school.
What do I include in my Home File?
Gather all materials that relate to your child’s education and education needs, such as health records, school reports, and work samples (if appropriate). Ask for copies of all reports from doctors, and other professionals that have worked with your child.
Keep a record of your child's milestones, of his or her accomplishments, or changes in your child’s emotional, intellectual and physical needs.
Keep a record of your own milestones as an advocate, of your successes and challenges. When you call or visit the school you can evaluate your success as an advocate by asking yourself questions. Did everything go smoothly? What could I do better next time?
Write down all telephone calls that you make to get information or services. Include the name and title of person you spoke with, the purpose of your call and its results, as well as the date and when to call back. Get a commitment for a follow-up phone call.
Write down the date, purpose, and outcome of all visits, appointments, meetings, and conferences.
Observe your child for brief periods and record in your notebook what you see and hear. Include the date and location of your observation.
Write down difficult or special words that relate to your child's education needs. Get explanations and examples from professionals.
Keep a dated copy of all letters you receive regarding your child's education and health.
Make copies of information provided to you by resource people in the community that you found useful.
Keep a record of the names of school personnel, school board members, school psychologists, and people you have talked to in the community. Obtain names, addresses and telephone numbers so that you can contact them for help and information.
How do I use my Home File?
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