Calendars, Clocks, and Confidence: School Organization Tips

When ADHD or learning disabilities are involved, organization challenges can go from tough to torturous — and the perpetually messy rooms, lost homework assignments, and missed soccer games can stress out everyone. Calm the chaos and build your child's self-esteem by teaching organizational skills that last — starting with these basic rules.


Managing Paper Flow

ADHD students need a system for carrying assignments and other materials to and from school. Figuring out a system that works for your child may take some time and experimentation, but keep trying, and listen—ADHD children often come up with good ideas of their own.

A Paper Management System for K-3rd Grade

For younger students, paper flow is about where to put loose papers like permission slips, handouts, and simple homework assignments. Three clear pocket-type folders in a binder work well. Label the pockets "Homework to Do," "Homework Done," and "Notices." Your child should come home with all assignments in the "To Do" pocket and notes to parents in the "Notices" pocket.

Completed homework moves to the "Done" pocket, which should then be emptied the next day at school (this will help him make sure he turns in all assignments).

A Paper Management System for Older Students

An older ADHD child can be overwhelmed by managing all of the papers that come with her more advanced work. Suggest she gather everything into one three-ring binder so she'll have a better chance of getting everything home, finding it, and then getting it back to school. Suggest she color-code the dividers by associating a color with each subjects - green for science (nature), for example. Color-coding by association offers visual cues for quick access to materials.

Clear pocket folders can also work well for this group too — they'll help them see the paperwork they need to remember to get done. If your student's binder just gets messy and unorganized, try an accordion folder instead.

Make Finished Project Files

Set up a desktop file box with hanging folders by subject, and encourage your child to regularly transfer finished projects here. This way, if she needs to look something up or find a paper later on, it will be neatly organized by subject.

Offer Praise

Emphasize accomplishments and successes, and praise your child as you continue to work with her on new skills. A parent's support and perseverance help make organizing a positive and effective experience for a child, one that will prove to be a lifetime asset.

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TAGS: Organization Tips for ADHD Kids, Back to School, Homework and Test Help, Cleaning Up Clutter, ADHD Products

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