January 5, 2010

Letters, the ONLY Way to Get Things Done!

Having a child with autism means having to interact with numerous agencies, organizations and people. Many times a simple verbal request is not enough to get a what your child needs. I have had more brush offs than I can count in the course of trying to get simple information that relates to my children.

Case in point, this week I have been trying to obtain my children's complete medical records. Oh that sounds simple enough, and for some of you it might be. Call the doctor's office, ask and it shall be given unto you. Yeah, that's what I thought. Considering the fact that I have changed pediatricians over the past 10 years, I had quite a few phone calls to make. Surprisingly I was met with a bit of resistance and excuses. At the end of the day, I had to go back to my advocacy skills and write a letter. As in most things, you have the right to request you or child's medical records at any time, you have right to have errors corrected in them. The office may charge you a reasonable fee to retrieve and copy these records. For more information on your rights to privacy and information go to - http://www.privacyrights.org/. I find it is sometimes a matter of what I like to call "so busy laziness" - you know when the office is just so busy that they can't help you with something that they are supposed to help you with. Sometimes a letter to the right person will motivate them to make your request a priority.

A letter as many of you well know is an official form of communication that if necessary acts as significant symbol of your intent. It is the start of your very own paper trail if you need to file a complaint or seek legal action. A verbal request is very easy to forget, be misinterpreted, or ignored. Also you have no proof that you gave an individual or entity notice of your request. Particularly in special education I find many errors and omissions that can be cleared up with a letter that was sent which sets the record straight.

If you find yourself in need of writing letters in order to really get things started, I have found a great resource, that I wanted you share. Even the most eloquent of us, sometimes struggle with the right thing to say, especially after our emotions have been stirred up and we are pumping with righteous indignation. Here is a link to a web site that has letters for just about every occasion you may face with a special needs child. From requesting an evaluation, to requesting medical records, these kind individuals have already prepared letters for you to use at your disposal.


Now, all you have to do is put in your personal info and send them off - and wait for the response.

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