I LOVE organization! I love when I can easily find information I need when I need it. Saying I love it doesn't mean that I'm great at creating and keeping up with organizational systems though. When you are busy from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed,  it can be difficult to work on organizing, and so, in the past, I have been lax in keeping up with information and have had to scramble and search, usually in a panic, for it.
     Luckily, those days are, for the most part, over.  I came across an app that has vastly helped my family's information organization. Before I go any further, I want you to know that I am in no way affiliated with the company I am going to discuss. I'm just a very happy user of their service and feel like it could help others.
    The company is called CareZone.  It is free to use, ad-free, and is available across all platforms, mobile and web. It is easy to use, private (encrypted), and truly the most important app on my phone. 
     I have special needs children who take many medications and have frequent appointments with various medical professionals and therapists. This app allows us to organize every piece of information easily right from our phones. We also have the ability to journal for each person. This is immensely helpful when discussing behavior issues with doctors and therapists.
   Medications are constantly changing for the kids. I cannot tell you how nice it is when the nurse asks us about medications to open that app and read the names and dosages off to him or her. It also has the ability to save inactive medications.
    I have an Android phone, and Tom has an iPhone. Our account seamlessly links across the two systems, allowing us to coordinate care. The same is true of the web browser.  We also set our care provider up, and she was able to add details to the account. So, if we weren't home, and something happened, she was able to quickly open the app on her phone and add a note to the journal for that child on that date. Changes others make cause a notification to be sent to others who have access to the account, so everyone is always in the loop.
     It has a calendar for appointments and reminders. It can hold pictures of important documents like insurance or ID cards if needed. You can take videos and upload them to the journal, which is-perfect if you want to show behavior concerns to a doctor or family member.  It also stores names and phone numbers (under each family member's name), which is very helpful when I'm blanking on a teacher's or specialist's name. 
     This could help any and every family.  For example, if you are caring for aging parents and share that responsibility with other family members, it could be a lifeline in coordinating care and keeping everyone updated. It is also great for emergencies. When I recently had to take Koby to the emergency room, it was so nice to pull out my phone to look up his medications and not rely on my memory. Even if I were a single woman with no children, this app would be helpful. It is wonderful!
     I could go on and on, but I won't. They have a helpful website for more information. Check them out, and if you decide to give it a try, let me know how you like it! 



    

    
 
 
    I don't make New Year's resolutions. I know I'll never keep them, so I usually skip that tradition. This year, however, is different! I have made a New Year's resolution--and made it six days early! My resolution is to update my blog more frequently and to do so more authentically.
    As you are probably aware, I have published a children's book about autism.  I have only written a handful of posts, and they have centered around autism.  It made sense to me to write about autism on this blog. The truth is that, of course, autism causes challenges in this household, but mental illness causes many more.
    A friend at work remarked to me the other day (he didn't know about my blog) that I should write about my life.  He said, "It could be really therapeutic for you, and it could help other people at the same time." While I agreed with him on both points, I really felt that this page should deal with autism only. The conversation has popped up in my head repeatedly though.
    Then, a family member who has a child with issues very similar to my own daughter's wrote a post on Facebook, detailing her frustration at some recent behavior struggles. Friends and family members quickly responded--and the comments were, in my opinion, without compassion or understanding.  My family member was told that her daughter would grow out of it, was just doing it for attention, that she needs a good paddling, etc. I was horrified. Now, I know that they meant well, but it was clear that they did not understand the context of her post.
    This situation gave me the push I needed for this decision to write more. You see, autism is gaining more acceptance in our society. Mental illness is not.
    It is my sincere hope that by sharing my journey, I can help other people dealing with similar circumstances feel less alone. It is also my sincere hope that people not dealing with similar circumstances can learn about what families like mine face and perhaps gain some compassion.

    I am not an autism expert; I am not a mental health expert.  FAR from it! I am a mom.  I screw up every single day. I worry, I cry, and I panic about the future.  I will never pretend I have all the answers.
    Still, I feel like I need to do this.  I pray that it will make a difference in the life of at least one person.         This is a resolution I plan on keeping! Happy New Year!