Managing Your Information
By this time in your life, your parents and the school have collected a lot of information about you: tests, reports, assessments, evaluations, letters, and notes. This kind of information is usually called records. It is important to have copies of your records and to keep them together.
Imagine a picture of you cut into puzzle pieces. Your records make up many of these puzzle pieces. They are important pieces of the total you.
With the help of your parents, you can create a personal portfolio or scrapbook. This will help the Transition Planning Team put together all the puzzle pieces that make up the picture o who you are and what it has taken for you to be where you are today. This portfolio will have two parts: 1) your history and 2) your present (today). Your records provide the history. Your answers to the questions in this book provide the present. This notebook can be used as your portfolio. You can use the dividers in the back to organize your information.
You need to gather your medical records, school records, work history, family history, and formal assessment data to create an accurate personal history. This information will help you and your ITP team as you write your ITP. These records will also be valuable when working with service providers such as:
- Texas Rehabilitation Commission
- Social Security Administration
- Texas Commission for the Blind
- Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation
- Texas Employment Commission
Below is a list of records you will need.
- Birth certificate
- Social security number
- Family information
- Listing of the ages when you accomplished major development milestones, like talking, walking, or riding a bike
- Residential history (living arrangements, level of supervision required, types of support needed, etc.)
- Records from agencies who are providing you with services, especially those that show you met their eligibility requirements.
- Dates of immunizations
- Dates and results of surgical procedures and diagnostic tests
- Letters from your physician and doctor's orders
- Specialist and therapist reports
- Names and addresses of all your doctors
- Evaluations and reports
- Letters from your psychologist or psychiatrist
- Progress reports
- Copies of all IEPs, past and present
- Educational assessment reports (achievement tests, physical therapy reports, etc.)
- Copies of letters and notes to or from school staff
- Notes and dates from all meetings with school personnel
- School progress reports, report cards, and evaluations
- Reports from vocational assessments
- Vocational and career education courses taken
- Employment experiences, dates, telephone numbers of agencies and contact people
- Letters of recommendation
- Copies of letters to or from any agencies
- Memorable moments
- Lots of photographs
- Information about your experiences and adventures
After you have gathered the records, put them in the sections in the back of your binder, in date order with the current information on the top. Occasionally go through your records. This will help remind you of organizations and agencies you need to call or problems that are not solved yet.
Information is useless unless you know how and when to use it. Your records tell a lot about you. They provide many of the puzzle pieces that make up the total you. Your parents, teachers, and doctors may be very familiar with the information in your records. As a team member, you should be too.
If you have trouble reading and understanding all the words in your records and organizing them into the different sections suggested in this guide, you may need to ask for help. Find someone to explain them to you and help you decide on the sections in which to put all those pages. Ask your parents, a teacher, or a friend.
Some of the important ways that records can help you plan for the future are:
- Records can tell you what has worked well for you in the past and what has not.
Information from your records can help you and your ITP team decide about the kinds of services and supports you need now and after your graduate. For example, if a communicator board has been helpful to you on field trips or when you go places with your family, then a communicator board or other augmentative communicator devices may be something that you need all the time as you spend more time in the community.
- Records can tell you things that you and the people who work with you should be careful about or that could be dangerous for you.
Information from your records could contain data about your experiences or your medical conditions that could influence decisions. For example, if your medical records show that you are allergic to milk and you become very sick if you eat something made with milk, then working in an ice cream store might not be a good job placement for you.