Selected Chapters of Directions: Resources for Your Child's Care

Directions is an organizing tool and a resource guide for families of children with special health care needs.

Table of Contents


Directions was created for you, a parent of a child with special health needs. It can help you plan and coordinate care for your child. In Directions you will find:

  • Ways to organize your child's health information
  • Information about caring for your child's special needs
  • Resources
  • Tips from other parents of children with special health care needs

View all of Directions stored in our online library, Dspace.

Directions has many forms to fill out and a lot of information to read through. Take your time to fill out the forms that are useful to you, gather your child's records, and read through the chapters. You may want to use different forms and sections at different points in your child's life. This notebook can be very helpful to you and your child's health care providers.

Tip: Bring your Directions binder to your child's appointments and meetings with health care providers.

How to use Directions and table of contents

Download the Title page, table of contents, and more organizing tips PDF (Doc).

Organizing tips:

  • Download and print out the chapters and forms you may need. Put them together in a 3-ring binder.
  • Keep your child's Massachusetts Lifetime Health and Immunization Record together with your Directions 3-ring binder. Take it with you every time you go to a health care visit, whether it is a check-up or an emergency visit.
  • Use the Calendar PDF (Doc) to write down important dates and appointments.

Chapter 1: Important information about your child

Write down information about your child's health and health care in Chapter 1 PDF (Doc).

Chapter 2: Health Records

Organize your child's health records after the Chapter 2 cover page PDF (Doc).

Include copies of letters, bills, receipts, prescriptions, and other documents. If you run out of space, it is time to buy another 3-ring binder!

Chapter 3: School records

Keep copies of your child's school records and care plans after the Chapter 3 cover page (PDF) | (DOC).


  • Check the Glossary for the meaning of some words and terms.
  • Check the Family TIES Resource Directory It has the names, addresses, phone numbers, and web addresses for many useful organizations and programs.
  • Ask for help. There are many people that can help you organize this notebook, such as your child's primary care provider, nurse, care coordinator, case manager, teacher, other parents, or other family members.

Chapter 4: Being Prepared for an Emergency

Chapter 4 PDF (Doc) is a guide for preparing for emergencies. None of us like to think about emergencies, but it helps to be prepared.

Chapter 5: Your Child's Medical Team

Use Chapter 5 PDF (Doc) for information about your child's primary care provider, specialty health care providers, and hospital care.

Making the Most of a Health Visit: How to prepare for an office visit

Preparing for the Hospital Discharge: Your child should leave the hospital with a written discharge plan prepared by hospital staff. The discharge plan will help to make sure that your child has the right support to stay healthy when it's time to leave the hospital.

Chapter 6: Your Child's Everyday Care

Use Chapter 6 PDF (Doc) for information and resources for taking care of the daily needs of your child, including information about some health care services used at home that may need extra planning. Many of the following ideas and tips come from other parents based on their own experiences.

Moving Checklist PDF (Doc): Moving is often a stressful time for families. The following list of tips and checklist will help you arrange for your child’s health care during a move

Chapter 7: Your Child's Health Plan

Use Chapter 7 PDF (Doc) for information about the health insurance plan for your child and resources if you need more information about health insurance, paying for health care for your child, and public benefits.



Massachusetts Department of Public Health
250 Washington St.
5th Floor
Boston, MA 02108-4619