While this blog is typically given over to devotional posts, an online conversation one week ago has spawned some terrific sharing by mothers in Christian community. During our Special Needs Ministry TweetChat (#SpnMin) we were discussing whether Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are or should be shared with the Children's Ministry at church. (Click here to see the transcript.) In the course of that conversation, I had mentioned that we have historically used our own little care summary of our son's diagnosis and treatment for schools, churches, extra-curricular activities and even babysitters. This gives them a brief, understandable way of quickly gaining just what they need for day-to-day life with our son's rare disorder. Sharing this suggestion inspired mother and homeschooler, Amy Dunaway to share her wonderful version "Dear Caregiver". Katie Wetherbee, who is also a mother as well as an educational consultant and Key Ministry team member shared her "Meet My Child - Proactive Partnering in One Page" too. Their insights and strategies are definitely worth your time and review.
Since we can learn and glean specific pieces that we like from various versions of the same type of document, I thought now was the time to share the edition that our family has used for almost 12 years now. Besides, since I was the instigator with this entire avenue of discussion, I felt I owed people as least that much! You will find that my care summary for our son puts more focus on the physical than the other two I've linked-up on this post, due to the fact that his chronic disease creates more concerns with its medical nature. So here goes...
- It can be easily adapted for an overview of any chronic illness like diabetes, juvenile arthritis or the like.
- You are giving personnel information that they need to know rather than bogging them down with details and labels that may not be necessary.
- Additionally, you are giving a practical look at what daily life with this diagnosis will look like for the recipient of this page. The psycho-social component can be especially helpful with a physical diagnosis.
- Making those caring for your child aware that you don't mind them getting in touch with you is a BIG deal! Often caregivers worry that they may be bothering you if they make contact.
- In a school, it is STRONGLY suggested that you do both an inservice and/or have a 504 plan or IEP meeting around this information. This page will merely be a brief leave-behind to help jar people's memory or for convenient use.
- This is a terrific format to use with a babysitter or in a Sunday school setting with a child who has this type of special need.
Pray: Lord, grant me Your wisdom as I put easily accessible information down on paper for my child. Help me to include only what You advise me is necessary and good for others to help him. Make me a faithful steward of this irreplaceable gift!
*For further reading: See Sharon Fuentes' insights on the "One Pager" in her outstanding book THE DON'T FREAK OUT GUIDE TO PARENTING KIDS WITH ASPERGER'S