2 hours ago
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Death by forms: The high risk for special needs parents...and a solution
The forms, they are piling up. A bunch of them for camps. The insurance ones I regularly fill out to get reimbursed for Max's therapies. Permission slips. Applications for programs. Activity profiles. Plus a lot more forms when we finally commit to a high school for Max (gulp).
"She had a talent for filling out forms!" read no tombstone ever. Yet they are an inescapable part of parenthood, and a particular kind of torture for special needs parents since ours tend to be more detailed, lengthier and soul-draining when you realize the developmental milestones or abilities you can't check off.
I dream of a universal form, like that college Common Application; schools, camps and programs could then tack on specific forms. (Be right back, off to patent that idea.) I fantasize about filling out all school and medical forms online, but that would involve places setting up secure systems that are compliant with HIPAA, i.e., it would be a big deal and likely won't happen for eons. Maybe someone could just invent an app for that?
This week, though, I hit upon a simple solution. I got a request to fill out an eight-page intake for a camp Max will attend this summer. He went last year, and his personality, needs and medical requirements haven't changed since then, other than his fixation with going to SeaWorld. And so, I asked if I could just update last year's form instead, which I still had in a document. And the answer was: "Yes." And the other parents could, too.
"Thank you for this gift!" I wrote back and it really was a gift. Maybe not quite as thrilling as the fancy tote that Dave got me for my birthday but still, the gift of time saved from having to fill out a form. I'm not quite sure yet what I'll do with the extra half hour or so; maybe fill out more forms?
Obviously, not everyone would be amenable to this. But there's a definite moral of the story: Ask for what will make your life easier—in any part of life—because the worst thing that can happen is they'll say "no."
May the forms be with you!
Posted by Ellen Seidman at 6:39 AM