The First Step: Assessing Your Immediate Needs

 What are your immediate needs?  This is the place to start, whether you are an old hand at being a parent-caregiver, or have just received a diagnosis.  Once you determine you needs, you can start fulfilling those needs through problem-solving, information gathering, creativity or good old-fashioned persistence.  The process is simple and intuitive - the hard part is being consistent and taking the steps needed to move forward.  Check in daily with this list and keep breaking things down into doable steps.  If something feels overwhelming, still, figure out how to either break it into smaller steps, or get help to make it happen.  You can do it!


  • To create a list of highest priority needs
  • To make problem-solving pages to work on meeting these high priority needs
    in a step-by-step way

What You Will Need:

1. Get out your Journal and make a list of all your current parent-caregiver needs - one line per need.  Don't worry about whether or not you think you can make them happen, or what priority the needs are on the page - just get them all out on however many pages it takes!  

2. Go through the list of needs and put a star next to the ones that are most critical - the Highest Priority Items.  Think about what has to happen first before other things can happen.  If you find yourself starring everything - you need to rethink what this means.  What is most important?  Do you need respite?  Equipment? Medicaid for your child? Funding for camp?  Help filling out the eight-million pages of forms for your child's latest evaluation that needs to be turned in before you can get funding?  If you are still having trouble, think about each item and determine which one is the most stressful - what would bring you the most peace if it happened.  

3. Make a new list with only the starred items.

4. Go through this list and choose six items - number them 1 - 6 in order of priority.  (If they seem like equal priorities, start with the one you can get done the fastest and order them that way, OR the one that has to happen before something else can go forward.)

5. Make a journal page for each topic - put the title at the top of the page and start in on the first one.  What do you need to do to make your highest priority item happen?  List all the steps, people to contact, brainstorming ideas, stuff you need to do, etc.  It may be one sentence (fill out the form) or it may be complicated (an entire page of "if I could..." and "If they agree...").

6.  Get working!  Make time to do this one thing, then the next, and the next, until all six items are done!  You can then start in on another set of six from your original list, or add new things that have come up in the meantime which take priority.  

Problem-solving something isn't always easy.  
Click here for some problem-solving techniques and Work The Solution!

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