What Special Needs Parents Need to Know to GET ORGANIZED for 2021
Updated: Apr 5, 2021
It's almost over! We made it! Virtual fist bumps for everybody!!
2020...I don't need to say anymore...just 2020. 😪
As we ring in the new year, life will not get better when the ball drops but we are on the path to "normal". One thing we can do to help our families get back to normal is to get organized for 2021! Here are 5 things we can do to make 2021 a smooth(ish) year.
1. Organize your play and learning area's
Remember when 2020 first started and we were "voluntold" home-school teachers. We met that challenge head on! We got supplies and learning areas and we thought "I can do this!" And with some bumps and bruises along the way, we did! After a few month of homeschooling, let's review our learning spaces. What works, what doesn't?
How can we make it better?
In my home I am loving BINS!!! I have a bin for everything! And I put different colors for different uses, like markers are for school and everything for school is in a red bin. It gives my son boundaries and helps him to know, what is for "play" and what is for "learning" (without that, I wouldn't be able to keep markers for longer than a week). He also knows, when mommy gets out the red bins its time for learning (ie, put away the tablet).
2. Digital copies of medical/dental records
If you are fortunate enough to live in the same place for more than a few years and you have the same doctors who know you and your family...you are blessed. For one reason or another I always find myself moving and with that, I've learned I need updated medical information for my child. Some doctors offices now have e-portals where you can easily download this information, but for the ones who don't...it can be a pain to get. Take a moment and make sure you have access to all important documents and have them in a safe place. You may not need them now, but it could save so much time during an emergency.
3. Organize all the closets
I know, I know...closets organization is something many of us dread. But did you know, your brain is like a computer, when you utilize less resources thinking about finding clothes or putting together outfits, you have more processing power for other decisions. Organize your closet so you are able to quickly (and somewhat automatically) pick out daily outfits for you and your child. I have four pairs of the same sweatpants (don't judge, we're home!) and several "zoom call appropriate" tops; every Sunday I set out what I'm going to put on for the week. Because we are not going into work and school, this is much easier but get into the habit now, so when normal comes back to town, you'll be ready!
4. Meal Prep
"It's so easy" they say..."Just cook all your meals for the week at one time" they say 🤨. Meal prepping is a HUGE time saver, but it's not an easy task. I've tried listening to jams and having a glass of wine while I cook, thinking it'll be like I see on TV. My feet hurt after cooking two full meals, the dishes have declared war, I don't have enough tupperware (or lids...where do the lids go?) and the wine made me sleepy.
You have to prep to meal prep...Pre-prep. Have a list of what your going to make, make sure you have the ingredients, use kitchen gadgets if you can (like food processors, rice cookers, etc), and have containers ready.
5. Organize your finances
After doing a year-end-review, I realized I've been paying $3 a month for an app that I no longer use. Look over your subscription services and make sure those little charges a month that go un-noticed, do not follow you into the new year.
Also, it's a good idea to call your credit cards and ask for a lower interest rate, sometimes you qualify, but you have to ask to get it.
And think about estate-planning for your autistic child. Are your affairs in order, should anything happen to you? Remember that inheritance works differently when you are dealing with special needs. Often leaving behind something directly to the person will disqualify them for government aid (but using a special need trust or a supplemental trust can navigate around that). The laws are very complex and are worth researching with a financial accountant but do this now while you're healthy and able...because having to worry about this later can be detrimental.