Archives for posts with tag: special needs students

So I know Elizabeth is 21 years old.

I know that she is in a college program and doing well.

I also know that we communicated all the information about her disorders of Dyspraxia and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) to those working with her.

But what I also know is that due to her special needs, the work done at the beginning of the year, is just that….a beginning.

She came home from her first day at college telling me that things were a bit “crazy” that day, but she had a good day.

We talked about the things that made it crazy. All of these crazy things she said were in line with a typical first day of really anything new.

But it’s just this kind of evaluation that I know will be part of each day and all events of the year.

I have learned early on in this journey with Elizabeth, that no matter how much you communicate, no matter how much you advocate for your child and pretty much no matter how much you feel like you did everything you can for them to succeed for the new year, you will still need to evaluate and analyze.

Quite often.

The communication- Are the daily sheets coming home? Are they filled out well.

The activities- Is your child in the resource room too much? Are they following the things you agreed on?

The school work- Are the accommodations in place? Are they being followed?

And more…

But something else that I realized early on in our journey is that these things we evaluate and analyze are simply going to be part of our life and journey and to see them not as things I HAVE to do, but to see them as things that I NEED to do to help my daughter succeed.

So I look at her daily sheets and we talk.

I look at her work and we talk.

I text and email those who work with her and we talk.

I know that what I do for her matters and makes the journey so much smoother.

Seeing what you need to do in the right light is what I learned early on and what I just wanted to share today.

I had someone say to me, just the other day ” I don’t know how you do it, Michele”  and truthfully, those words were ones that  hurt  years ago.  But now when I hear them, I think….

I know how I do it.

I do it because it is our journey.

It is her life.

And I know about all of us who love a special needs child, we would do ANYTHING, EVERYDAY, because we know it matters.

I hope someone could use these thoughts today.

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister”



Just last week I was scheduled to head to a meeting for my special needs daughter Elizabeth.  You see we are planning the next step in Elizabeth’s journey as she is graduating from high school this year.  So as I prepare to head off the meeting, I get together the necessary paperwork: the IEP (Individualized Education Plan), the latest ETR (Evaluation Team Report) , various reports, anecdotal notes, report cards and probably a few other things.  But you get the idea.

After I get it all together,  I put them into a new accordion file that I purchased for the start of her life after high school.  I thought it would be great to separate the before from the after.

And this got me thinking about the amount of paperwork, notes, and records that become part of your life when your child has special needs.  I happen to be a pretty organized person due in part to my love of office supplies.  I used to be the happy “back to school” child.  You know the one, the one who happily picks out their folder colors and binders. Pretty much the one my young son would love to yell at in the aisle at Target.

Whatever got me to this level of organization, I know I would be lost without it. I may not be able to find a paper this second but I can tell you where it is and I will find it….just give me a few minutes.

I thought maybe I would share how I keep track of the always growing amount of papers for Elizabeth.  Please know, I am sharing what works for me.


It is very important to keep all information from each school year together.  Such as daily reports, report cards, communication notes that you have exchanged with anyone at the school.  Also, any therapy reports from the school or private therapy.  I keep everything in one folder for one school year.  This way anything that happened in second grade is right there…together.  I tried separating things out based on school related items versus private therapy but that just got too confusing and made two folders for each year.


After the school year is done, I take the folder and put it into a big, waterproof bin with a secure lid.  Two floods in the basement have taught me the value of waterproof!  Once they are labeled, then finding anything the school may need at a later time is really easy and if you forget to put something away, it is easy to locate where it goes as it is all based on the school year.


I know I said all things in the school folder, but the IEP is such a fluid and working document that I find myself flipping through old ones to read and see how much the goals have been changed or asking myself why then haven’t been.  

I have every IEP in one VERY big folder.  Along with any ETR reports.  

How nice to know all that information is in one place.  Simply bring the folder to any IEP meetings.  Besides its weight, it is pretty nice to have it all right there.


Some people use their schedules and calendars on their phones to organize their lives. I do a little of that but because  I am a visual person,  I go old school and use a calendar,  the kind with 12 months of pictures, flowers or cats.

I put it on my desk so that the pictures are tucked under and I see only the months.  Then I write down reminders for myself of things for Elizabeth.  Such as “call for volunteering in May” I will slide that in the calendar in the month of April and when I flip to April, I will see it.  

I do this a lot for all my children but especially for Elizabeth because by using it like this she can help me to write the cards, file them and we can talk about the schedule before it really starts.


Even as I read this, I can see how it may seem like a lot of work, but it really is not.  What I mean is think of how many things you have done and worked on for your child that have simply become part of your life.  I think so much of it just becomes habit.  

The same as a sensory diet can become simply part of your day to life so will keeping all the records in order.

As you know, you never thought you would face the challenges of a child with special needs but you did.  You never thought you would rejoice over the little successes but you do.  So figuring out how to keep track of life and still enjoy the good things is just one more thing you can do.

I wish you all a blessed week.


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