Helping ADHD Children Organize Their Thoughts

Q:

"My 10-year-old daughter expresses her thoughts in a jumbled fashion when she puts them on paper. What would help her organize her ideas?"

A:

It is common for children with ADHD to have trouble with written expression. To help with the planning/organizing of the writing process, have your daughter try the following strategies:

1. Organize her ideas graphically. She can try software, such as Kidspiration or Inspiration (inspiration.com), to make a “mind-map” of ideas before writing.

2. Write ideas on index cards or Post-it notes. She can spread out, group, and sequence her ideas before writing them down.

3. Speak her ideas into a tape recorder. As she listens to the recording, she can decide what needs to be added, clarified, or sequenced differently before trying to do so on paper.

4. Use a pre-writing checklist of questions. For example, “Have I brainstormed and written down a number of possible topics?” “Have I listed several words, ideas, or phrases related to my topic?” “What details and examples might I use to support my ideas?”

Sandra Rief, M.A., is an educational consultant, speaker, and author of a number of books for parents and teachers on how to help students with ADHD succeed in school. Some of her books include How to Reach & Teach Children with ADD/ADHD, The ADD/ADHD Checklist, The ADHD Book of Lists, and How to Reach & Teach All Children in the Inclusive Classroom. She has trained thousands of educators through her workshops/seminars nationally and internationally on effective strategies and interventions for students with learning, attention, and behavioral challenges. A former award-winning special education teacher, from San Diego, California, Sandra is an instructor of continuing education online/distance learning courses for teachers on ADHD and Learning Disabilities through California State University, East Bay and Seattle Pacific University.
 
 
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