8 Simple Steps to Help Remember Your Autistic Child’s Appointments
Keeping track of doctor and therapy appointments is difficult for any person to do, when you throw an autistic individual in the mix it becomes even arduous.
Families of autistic individuals tend to have up to, if not more than, twice as many appointments a month than a family without a special needs individual in it. Some of us are auspicious enough to have a personal assistant to remind us or to have a remarkable memory and find no need in writing a thing down. In either case I tip my hat to you. In my world we are worn-out from staying up all night with an autistic child and can’t even remember where we put our glasses let alone where we are supposed to be that day. Therefore writing everything down is a must.
What I found over the last 11 years raising an autistic child is that there’s a way to handle appointments and a way not to handle appointments when it comes to remembering them. Are you wondering what those ways are? On the edge of your seat wondering what you can do to save the money you keep spending in late show/no show fees for your doctor’s office because you forgot? Well, read on.
Making and Remembering Doctor Appointments
Appointment days are hectic; just getting to the appointment and through it in one piece is something to be applauded for. Trying to remember the date and time given to you at the end of the appointment in the midst of all the chaos is beyond unfeasible. You would think that the most obvious aid to use would be those little appointment reminder cards the doctor’s office gives you when you leave. I don’t know if you are like me or not but those cards within a few days, never to be seen again. It’s a quite disturbing phenomenon. They are good for an initial reminder once you get home but they are not great long term aids to remind. Let’s look at some tips to keep track of your autistic child’s doctor’s appointments.
Keep a large, visible calendar
I cannot express how useful this tip is. Use a medium to large size dry erase wall calendar, hung where it is visible to the whole family. Hanging the calendar central to the family’s main living area is the best idea. This helps involve the whole family in the appointment process and keeps double appointments from happening. This also plays as a visual aid for autistic individuals. This visual aid, combined with tip #2, has been the absolute biggest help for my family.
Color code said calendar
Color coding your family appointment calendar (with dry erase markers monthly) serves as an easy way to identify who has an appointment on what day at a moment’s glance. The color coding also aids in the visual aid element for an autistic child. Make sure to create a legend, or go a step further and add pictures to the calendar if using it as a visual aid as well. This tip is one of the most helpful things I do in my personal life.
Use the technology you have at hand
You wouldn’t believe how few people use the calendars on their cell phones and computers to remind them of appointments. These are great ways to keep yourself from having one of those horrid moments where you realize 15 minutes after an appointment that you had one that day! There are also numerous resources you can find on your computer and through app stores that are specifically geared towards autistic children.