ADHD Gadgets: Low-Tech Lanyards to the Rescue

Discreet, customizable, and attached to your hip, lanyards are a simple way to keep your keys where they belong -- and to deliver visual reminders to ADHD children with working-memory challenges.
ADHD Coach Blog | posted by Ann Jovanovic

Ever look down at the palm of your hand to check that important reminder only to find, to your dismay, a blue smudge of indecipherable ink?

What can you do when you keep forgetting where you placed your keys or can't remember that thing you just had to do?

You've got the ADHD-friendly smartphone, the right apps and a sleek new laptop. Yet you still struggle with losing and forgetting some very basic stuff, right!?

My son was always forgetting to return books to the library and he never seemed to know where his house key was.

Our morning routine would go something like this:

My son would holler from his bedroom, "Mom! Have you seen my house key?"

My response, "No, I'll look on the stairs." Then, as if on autopilot, I'd start sifting through the papers on the hall table, checking his coat pockets, next, the couch. No luck.

"That’s a Medco key and it'll cost you $27 of your own money to replace it." That will teach him!

I thought I was very clever to buy Medco keys. They are individually assigned and can't be copied, which gave me a sense of peace as my son kept "misplacing" his house keys. And, I thought, the financial consequences of losing the expensive little key would keep him from doing so.

Nope. My son spent his allowance -- and part of his sisters -- every month on costly key replacements. During the last two years of high school, my son (more clever than I) changed his tactics. He refused to admit he had lost his key. Instead he’d call ahead to make sure someone was home, he'd borrow his sister's keys (they were on a huge purple carabiner, which he refused to wear), or he'd talk me out of my keys.

Someday, we'll all have retinal scanners to unlock our doors, I thought. In the meantime, how on earth will he manage on his own?

Quite well, thank you very much. Turns out necessity is the mother of invention.

During his first year in residency at university he discovered the multiple uses and relative invisibility of a lanyard.

A lanyard can be attached to the belt loop of your pants and the keys on it can tuck into your pocket quite nicely. End result - he has not lost his keys yet. They are with him at all times. Simply brilliant.

Lanyards can hold messages or be multilayered and out of view. For school-age children, they can help trigger a mental checklist for shoes, hats, mitts, books and homework.

Whatever the age, a solution can be found.

Parents can assign colored bands to reoccurring events like gym days, or specific events like a test or returning a movie on time. You can also write on them or tape a note to them. Great for co-parenting days when extra coordination is needed to get to Mom's or Dad's house.

Multicolored string (embroidery thread) or [[NewWindow(, _blank, gimp)]], carabiners, mobile apps -- these might work well for you, too. The point is to keep trying solutions until you find the one that keeps your keys where they belong and your mornings less stressful.

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