Managing Middle School


"How can I help my sixth-grade daughter adjust to middle school? She is having trouble managing a locker and staying organized."


Middle school is an organizational dilemma for an ADHD kid, who finds herself dealing with multiple classrooms and teachers, a locker, and more homework. Start by making sure her teachers know that she is being treated for ADHD and struggles with organization. Enlist their help, and try the following.

  • Locker: Your daughter might not have time to stop at her locker between every class. Make sure she has a roomy book bag (try one on wheels), to carry books and materials for multiple classes. Encourage her to stop at the locker at midday (say, during lunch period), and at the beginning and end of the day, until she grows comfortable using it.
  • Assignments: If writing down assignments is the problem, have your daughter record them on a hand-held tape recorder. Find a "study buddy" in each of your daughter's classes, whom she can call if she forgets the assignment.
  • Homework: Request one set of textbooks to keep at home so that your daughter doesn't need to remember to carry hers each day. Color-code her folders and textbook covers, and follow the same system in her assignment book.

Also, talk to your daughter about advocating for her own needs. If she has trouble following class material, she should raise her hand and ask questions.

Sandy Maynard lives in Washington, DC where she operates Catalytic Coaching. She was instrumental in the development of The National Attention Deficit Disorder Association's Coaching Guidelines and a founding board member for the Institute for the Advancement of AD/HD Coaching (IAAC). Sandy lectures internationally and is a regular contributor to ADDitude.
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