Children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often have difficulties with organization and study skills. They may need direct support and training in organizing material, breaking down assignments, and planning of projects.
Other children may not receive a formal diagnosis of ADHD, but may have deficits in certain executive functioning skills such as organization that can affect their academics.
- Does your child’s backpack have crumpled papers everywhere?
- Is your child always searching for homework assignments or leaving textbooks at school?
- Is your child always waiting until the last minute to complete a project?
- Does your child forget to turn in homework? Or forget to complete homework altogether?
If you’re answering ‘yes’ to these questions, it may be time to teach some organizational skills to your child!
Organizing School Work
Is your child forgetting to write down assignments?
Having a notebook available for your child to write down each of the classroom assignments is critical. The planner should be readily accessible, meaning that your child should bring it with them to school each day and carry it between classes.
Children with deficits in executive functioning skills may also have difficulties with holding information in their mind. By having a planner, your child is no longer forced to rely on his or her memory.
There are also other technology devices that would allow for your child to speak and record the assignments. This is really handy for students who make careless mistakes when copying down assignment instructions.
Tip: Visual Cues
Visual reminders can be really helpful. You can have your child place sticky notes by their backpack to make sure that they grabbed everything they needed before they left the house. A checklist can also be placed
Does your child often misplace or lose school supplies?
Ask your child’s teacher if you can have an extra set of textbooks for the home. If your child is also other school supplies, such as pencils, give an extra set of these to the teacher to keep at school.
Does your child have a messy desk or backpack?
Consider getting an organizational notebook. Depending on the grade level of your child, you can have one notebook that has labeled pockets such as “Homework” and “Completed Assignments.” Every school supply and paper should have a place to go!
If your child is in a higher grade level, having separate folders that are color-coded for each academic subject area may be a better solution.
Having scheduled times where your child needs to clean out his or her backpack is also important. Don’t wait until you cannot find a single thing in your child’s backpack. Instead, ask your child to spend two minutes every day to organize the backpack (removing unneeded papers, placing loose papers into the correct folder).
Does your child have difficulties completing long-term projects?
Help your child break down the larger project into smaller, more manageable tasks. Then, you can create deadlines for each of the smaller tasks. You can help your child stay motivated to complete the tasks by providing small incentives if completed by the deadline given.
Does your child have difficulties prioritizing work?
Help your child review the work that needs to be completed and then prioritize appropriately. When your child first gets home from school, they may have more energy compared to later in the evening. This may be a good time to complete the more difficult or challenging homework assignments. Allowing them access to preferred activities afterwards is a great motivator (think: homework first, then video games!)
If difficulties with organization are impacting your child’s academic performance, check with the school about whether your child can qualify for a 504 plan or an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This would allow for your child to receive school-based accommodations
If you have questions about receiving accommodations for your child in the school, contact Foundations Pediatrics at firstname.lastname@example.org.