June 9, 2013

Image of a paper form
When you have a special needs child, you fill out a lot of forms, and they never fail to be tedious and invasive. The other day, I filled out an 8-page form so that my daughter’s school could bring in an outside agency to do an adaptive technology assesment. As I answered question after question on page after page, I thought of a few questions I’d like to ask whoever created this form:
  • It’s 2013–why am I filling out a paper form with a pen? At the very least, could you make it an editable PDF? I’m supposed to rely on you to find appropriate technology for my daughter when you don’t even understand the appropriate technology for filling out a form?
  • Do you really need to know how long my labor was? It’s been nine years–even I don’t remember that.
  • And why all the questions about Chloe’s birth? Do you think that after countless doctor and therapist visits, YOU are going to be the one gleam some kind of brilliant new diagnosis from the basic details of my daughter’s birth? Well, you won’t be.
  • I estimate that Chloe has had about 20 different therapists over the years, and you’ve given me six lines to list all their names and mailing addresses?
  • Do I even remember their names, let along their contact information? No, for the most part I remember them as “the chick whose underwear was always sticking out of her pants” and “that red headed woman who just stopped showing up one day” and “that one really good speech therapist who moved to Atlanta for some guy.”
  • Why do you ask for everyone’s address? Are you going to mail them a letter? Wouldn’t you rather have their phone number, email address, website, twitter handle, or even fax number? Have you updated this thing since 1970?
  • Do you realize how disheartening it is to look through yet another list of developmental milestones and find nothing I can check off?
  • You want a list of Chloe’s favorite toys, TV shows, pets? I assume you’re trying to figure out the best way to engage my child, which makes sense. But my child, like every child, is a unique character who cannot be summed up with “dolls, Good Luck Charlie and a cat named Woody.” Why not ask me to bring along some of her toys, and find out in person how to get her attention? In fact, if we could just meet for five minutes, I could just tell you everything you need to know and save us both a lot of time and trouble, not to mention a wicked cramp in my hand.

2 Responses to “Misin-form-ation”

  1. Cynthia Ann Says:

    good gad – seriously, some great points I could apply to several health insurance forms I’ve had to fill out recently

    – though daunting to say or ask- how did said adaptive technology assessment go?

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