Organizational skills are often lacking in students with ADHD, but their disorganization shouldn’t be interpreted as a failure to try. Their brains are slower to mature, and their brain chemistry works differently.
The good news is that organization skills often improve with age and maturity. Until then, teaching students specific skills and providing more supervision and support are essential.
Here are some helpful solutions to five common problems:
Loses classwork and homework
Solution: Ask the student to put all schoolwork in one colorful pocket folder, placing work to be completed on the left side and finished work on the right.
Misplaces school supplies, gym uniform, and musical instruments
Solution: Have the student put his name on all school supplies, his band uniform, instrument cases, and personal items. Place his belongings in the gym or band room first thing in the morning. Try to reduce the number of times he must transport uniforms or instruments from home.
Does not turn in homework
Solution: Establish a homework routine in the classroom. Tell all of your students that homework should always be placed in a red box or folder on your desk at the end of class. Assign “row captains” to collect homework or to see that homework is turned in before leaving class.
Forgets to pack books and other material
Solution: Have the student return to an “organizational homeroom” at the end of each day. Have an aide review assignments, necessary books, and materials. Consider posting all assignments in writing on the board, including a list of materials.
Has a messy notebook, backpack, desk, or locker
Solution: Have students use a notebook that contains a sealed plastic pouch for pencils, calculators, and other items. Ask parents to help the student clean out his backpack and organize his locker: top shelf to store books for morning classes; middle shelf for afternoon classes; bottom shelf to re-deposit books after each class.
Periodically, give your students 10 minutes during class time to organize their desk. Notebooks should be cleaned out every few weeks; save all completed work, in case the student forgot to turn some of it in.
This article comes from the Summer 2008 issue of ADDitude.
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