Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘paperwork

Paper Weight

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Two weeks until our big move, and I’m in the midst of what is by far the most laborious task of moving: sorting out the paperwork. This time around is extra challenging. Previously when we’ve moved, our air shipment has followed us around a week later, and the rest of our belongings our shipped after 2-3 minutes.

This time though, we’ll be heading to the states for two months, and even after we arrive at our next post, we can’t receive our belongings until after we have been accredited…some 4-6 months later. Which means we could be looking at 8 months without the filing cabinet that purports to document our lives. 

So you see, the challenge of forgetting to put the right piece of paper in our luggage could be pretty critical. The problem is, paperwork is never critical until you don’t have the right one. Marriage and birth certificates are always essential. As is my naturalization certificate and our immunization records. Do I really need that reference from 10 years ago? This paperwork is taking up too much space in our already crammed luggage, and weighing us down.

And then the most critical, but cumbersome paperwork of all: the kids’ psycho-educational reports and school paperwork. Five years and two kids is easily filling two boxes, and yet, hardly capturing them at all. Because what kind of evaluation can ever capture their joy, resilience, sensitivity, and adventurous spirits? Qualities that aren’t necessarily required in the classroom, but certainly are helpful outside of it.

As I read through Pudding’s past reports, one thing keeps striking me. Each contains a sentence along the lines of “…doesn’t reflect an accurate measure of cognitive ability.” And yet, international schools, not bound by law to accept children with disabilities are always searching for those cognitive skills as evidence that a child can measure up to their peers academically. It is the reason we keep testing- to check that we are not failing her, tweaking her supports and interventions as necessary.

But if they aren’t an accurate measure…aren’t they just paper? Weighing us down.

A few weeks ago, we got some different results. Pudding’s support teacher administered the Woodcock Johnson III. A useful measure for us, because she has had this test before, and comparing Pudding to her own self has always been more meaningful than comparing her to her peers- at least in terms of deciding if our interventions are working as hoped.

These new results, however, show a dramatic improvement in her written language skills. Her mathematics and calculation skills are average, but compared to her peers she shows superior academic skills when it comes to reading, writing, and spelling. 

And these results are truly amazing, more evidence that inclusion (with the right supports) is working for her. Evidence that we need to have, in order to convince international schools that she has a right to be there.

But they also add to the confusion. How will we support these strengths as well as her weaknesses? Or were we somehow already doing that without trying? Who knows. It is hard to think about these things without it adding to this constant weight- which always feels more burdensome at moving time- are we doing the right thing?

Like every other piece of paper, it captures just a tiny aspect of her. It is no more a description of her than anything else that goes in the filing cabinet. One interesting fact to add to the others, just like that her birth certificate is written in Luxembourgish.

While we ponder on the data, I’ll do what I have to with this the same as most of the other papers- scan it and save it in digital form. That way we can keep it, consider it, yet not let it weigh us down.

 

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

May 17, 2014 at 9:53 am

Order and Chaos

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I’m sitting here doing paperwork.  Really.  There is a pile of health insurance “Explanation of Benefits” (which offer precious little benefits, without explanation) sitting on my lap from 2009 that I’m trying to put into order.  Then a few other piles.  One for each member of the family for the last 3 years, some bigger than others.  You can see that this task is so particularly dreadful that I had to take a break from it.

I’ve managed to neglect this task for the last three years, but today it is my priority.  I need to make some order out of this chaos.  For I know all too well that if I couldn’t manage to get this paperwork in order in the last three years while at home, it surely won’t get any better now that I’m to go out to work.

I can see from this paperwork, that I was once an organized person.  The health insurance paperwork was dutifully submitted, and returned, filed and stapled.  And then boom!  An ASD diagnosis for the first child, and paperwork comes at the bottom of a very long list of priorities.  Order was no more.

Chaos has reigned for three years.  Oh, there was order to certain things.  Therapy schedules and school were always very structured.  The rest of our lives, not so much.  Every once in a while I would try to bring some more order to our lives.  But Pudding never needed a visual schedule.  Unlike her brother who needs to know what is coming next, Pudding is- dare I say it- flexible.

But, by and large, our life is chaotic, and moving to a different continent hasn’t exactly helped with that.  This morning was the usual story.  Pudding woke up at 3.20.  Shortly after she woke her brother up.  I persuaded him to return to sleep on the mattress by our bed, but nothing was going to make Pudding go back to bed.  She was A-WAKE!  

Spectrummy Daddy dutifully removed her downstairs and the boy and I slept until 6.  And then?  I don’t know, but somehow between getting the two of them dressed and myself ready, together with all the extra things they need at the start of another school week, we were already late for Cubby’s pre-preschool occupational therapy session, and then late for Pudding’s school, and then dealing with a car that breaks down at least twice a journey.

And it occurred to me that this can’t happen any more.  We need order.  We need control.  I need to look presentable to go to work.  We need to factor in Pudding’s commute to her new school, which will have her leaving the house even earlier.  It isn’t compatible with our current lifestyle.

So I need to go back to being the person I was when I last filed this paperwork.  Organized.  Prepared.  

I’ve taken something on board that I learned from my kids over the last few years.  I’m concentrating on the visual.  Massive piles of dusty paperwork cluttering the house make me feel bad.  Nice little storage boxes look clean and orderly.  I’m going to have to commit more time in the evenings to getting read for the mornings.

Then if I’m really lucky, I can enjoy a morning of order, before heading out to the chaos of work.  Or maybe the other way round.  Either way, it will be a change from the last three years, and a much better example to set for the two pairs of eyes that are always looking, even with averted gazes.

 

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

June 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Paperwork

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Paperwork

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Where do I begin on paperwork?

I’ll start with last night, when we got a thick envelope in the mail containing Pudding’s occupational therapy notes from last year.  I was a little baffled, until I read the enclosed note saying that our insurance hasn’t paid them for services since last July, and if the account isn’t settled in the next month, we are responsible.  Can I mention at this point how I made Pudding leave her beloved first OT who was trained in Floortime, and had an awesome connection with our girl, to go to this one just because it was an “in-network” provider and we’d be able to avoid insurance hassles.  And even though I have to make a 42 mile round trip, and even though my girl’s progress has slowed markedly, we kept going.  For a year.  That we might have to pay for in full.

So now, weeks before moving, I had to sort through all the insurance paperwork to sort out what is going on with them, and hope we can resolve it quickly.  Because the last thing we need to do right now is pay for a year’s worth of therapy.

Or shall I talk about the ongoing saga of the paperwork of a Foreign Service child with four diagnoses?  How every time we apply to a new school, or doctor, or therapist, we have to fill out form after form requiring the same information?  How we have to apply to many schools, because the American or International Schools can’t decide if they will take her until they’ve seen the paperwork.  The school’s paperwork, not the thorough expert evaluations we’ve had done in preparation, and offer to digitally send.  No, that would be too easy.  Paperwork with question after question about what is wrong with her, and never the space for me to talk about all that is right.  So she gets turned down on the basis of paperwork that doesn’t have a hope of describing all she can offer.

Perhaps I’ll talk about my other child.  My grey-area kid who has shown some, but not all, signs of autism since I learned what to look for almost two years ago.  Who has been in a sibling study since the age of ten months that measures every aspect of development, then presents me with a report every few months.  And then evaluated for his OT and PT services through Early Intervention.  How we’re still unsure, so we took him to a Developmental Pediatrician to take a look at him.  And now he has entered the public school system.  We have masses of paperwork on the boy, but we still aren’t certain what is going on with him.  It will take time and more paperwork to figure him out, I guess.

I think I’ll just leave you with the thought that we have all this paperwork and we can’t keep it together.  Our girl gets into our filing cabinet, and drawers and folders, and it gets drawn on, or cut, or ripped.  The chance of it getting lost during moves pales into comparison with it getting destroyed on any given day at home.  The most important things, the IEPs, the reports and evaluations, get digitally scanned so we always have an electronic copy, just in case.  When we move we’ll have it with us, so we can just print it out again if necessary.

Just when we think we might have found a solution to our vulnerable paperwork, Pudding expresses an interest in computers, and I realize how simple it would be for it to all disappear.  If only I could make all the paperwork disappear for good, I’m tempted.  But then thinking about all we’d have to go through to get replacements…..you know it would take even more form-filling.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

June 9, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Posted in Foreign Service Life

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