If you’re feeling a little scattered about all of the info, records, appointments and so on you have for your child with special needs a simple, an inexpensive binder will fix things. For a only a few dollars it will help you clear your head. Or you can get a fun slightly more expensive binder but it won’t cost that much more. That’s it, and then some printable inserts and the ones I created are for free. So there! No excuses. The hardest part is starting this project but one you start you’ll be good to go.
I have all of Gigi’s medical and special needs-related info in one binder. I used to take my big, overloaded binder to every doctor appointment, but in our personal case I didn’t need it during appointments so I’ve done myself the favor of leaving it at home. But it’s necessary because it keeps all of Gigi’s medical info in one place.
If you’re ready to start organizing a special needs care binder for your child then read on!
How to Build a Special Needs Care Binder
1. Get a binder. Here’s the key, it must be a letter-sized binder (to hold 8.5×11 paper). As much as I would love to use a 8.5×5.5 which would be easier to carry around, it’s not practical. The binder needs to be big enough to hold all of the papers you get at appointments such as information sheets, medical summaries, and test results as well as therapy notes.
Leave it to Target to sell some cute binders to get you in the organizing mood. At least a 1 inch binder is recommended. If you go with the 1 inch binder you may need a backup because it will get full quickly, but the benefit of the thinner binder is you will actually be able to carry it with you to appointments. Or you can go with a larger-ringed binder and keep everything in one place. I use a 1.5 inch binder. I got mine at Family Dollar. Fall is a good time to buy with all of the back-to-school stuff in the stores.
Make sure the binder has pockets inside to hold additional papers or handouts you collect. I also recommend buying a business card binder page like the one below to hold all of the business cards you get.
And don’t forget to buy the tabbed dividers!
2. Download the Inserts. Click the Special Needs Care Binder link below to get your free inserts. A window will open when you click the link and then you will be able to download the file or print straight from there.
3. Print the Inserts.
Print the inserts. I recommend 28 or 30lb paper because it’s thicker but really any paper will do. Tips on printing..
- The file is set up so that you can print double-sided if you want. If you print everything double-sided you will have one page of each insert front-to-back.
- These inserts are designed to print on 8.5×11 sheets. Make sure that your printer is not automatically scaling or resizing. If the printout looks strange you may want to check this.
- Print one or two pages first just to make sure things are printing correctly.
- When you like how things are printing, decide what inserts in the pack you may want more than a single front-to-back page of (such as the notes pages) and print extras.
- Printing in color makes them prettier, but you can also print them in black and white if you wish.
3. Put the Binder Together. Now that you have your inserts printed use a 3-hole punch to punch the holes. Then build your binder. Use your dividers to create sections that match your personal needs. If you’re looking for suggestions, here’s what I recommend for sections:
- General Info – Calendar, Milestones, Medical Summary, Contact Info, Resource Info, School Contact Info
- Medical Info – Doctor Appointments Log, Lab Work Log, Hospital Stay Log, Symptom Log, Medication Log, Call Log, Daily Care Schedule
- Therapy/Behavior – Therapy Log, Meal Log, Behavior Log
You may want to do this differently. You might have a child with more medical issues that you want to keep track of. I have medical-specific inserts for purchase here in my Etsy shop. In Gigi’s personal case some of these inserts aren’t relevant so we don’t have many medical inserts in our binder.
If you need to design your own chart, you’ll notice some blanks at the end of the downloaded special needs inserts packet that you can use to build your own tables.
And that’s about it! Now you have everything in a binder. They key to keeping up with it is adding to the binder as soon as you get something. Don’t let those papers pile up.
Do you have an insert idea that you would recommend I add to this set? Leave your suggestion in the comments.