Thursday, January 6, 2011

Creating Order in a Chaotic Life

"God is not a God of disorder but a God of peace." (1 Corinthians 14:33, GWT)

Aside from getting the fitness bug every January, it seems many Americans make the resolution to get more organized.  Whether it's dealing with all the "stuff" of Christmas that becomes less "cozy" and more "cluttered", or scrambling to find everything we'll need to complete our tax returns in the next few months, people suddenly get the urge to purge and tidy otherwise messy lives.  And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Not to scare you out of your mind, but have you thought of what would happen to your child or children if something happened to you?  Would someone have easy access to all that is needed to care for your offspring in your place?  In a less-than-worst-case scenario, how do you coordinate all the records and communications needed between doctors, therapists, dentists, educators and insurance companies?  And could the daily functioning of your household just run more smoothly if you could easily locate what you need?

The fact is that the better organized we stay with our child's records, the less stressful and more pleasant life will be for all of us.  Here are a couple of ideas to help you along the way:
  1. Whether it be a 3 ringed binder or a system like Information in a Box, having all of your child's important papers in spot will only help you stay on top of the documents needed to acquire the aid and services that would most benefit them.
  2. Adding to any system a "Getting to Know My Child" letter that documents all of your child's likes/dislikes and other idiosyncrasies will assure that someone can carry on doing things just the way your child prefers if you are out of commission for some reason.  It can also be helpful with daycare, babysitting or school as well.
  3. Another fabulous way to stay organized is to maintain a free CaringBridge Website detailing your child's progress.  Aside from the fact that it allows friends and family members to keep current on your child, it can be referred back to for record-keeping purposes.  It is tremendously efficient in that you only need tell the story once in order to spread the word.
  4. Of course, the "Cadillac" of all systems would have to be Parlerai.  This computerized system allows you to coordinate all of your child's care in one centralized web site.
  5. What about planning for transitions?  Lifecare planning has become an entire specialty unto itself these days.  Why not plug into the expertise of people like Gwen Faulkner and her Special Needs Road Maps.  This will help take your child from cradle to grave with proper legal and financial planning set in place.  (See also our October & November, 2009 issues of SNAP SHOTS for a terrific overview!)
  6. Aside from the critical documents, how about organizing your child's items for easy access and ready comfort?  Lorna d'Entremont describes in detail in her blog how to organize a personalized sensory box.  You could adapt this to kids who do not have sensory issues, but who find comfort in the ability to quickly locate their favorite items such as adaptive tools for writing, eating or sleeping.
  7. Merely having a designated bookshelf where you can readily reach for favorite resource books on your child's given area of need, your favorite devotional books that bring encouragement or the best bound directories you use will lessen your stress when a need for that information arises.
The bottom line is that we parents who are caring for children with special needs tend to fly by the seat of our pants more often than not.  We use the demands of our lives to excuse us from getting things well-organized in our homes and our lives in general.  While adaptability is key, continual chaos is not God's will for our lives!  We must be deliberate in making time to sift through things and get them in place for easier access.  It isn't just going to happen on its own.  The further we delay this process, the larger and more anxiety-filled the situation becomes.  When we make that time to tidy things piece by piece, we will find that the God of all comfort brings us peace in a simple way that otherwise never would have occurred to us.

*Need some encouragement along the way?  We LOVE Joan Celebi's OVERWHELMED NO MORE!

*Save money on organization tools & have part of your purchase going to supporting this ministry when you designate SNAPPIN' as you charity of choice at


  1. Thanks Barb for the mention and link to our Special Needs Blog post What Goes In a Personalized Sensory Box. Thanks and Bravo to you for all the other links and ideas on how to create order in our chaotic lives.

  2. Barb, great blog post and thank you for the link to more info on Special Needs Trusts.