Teaching How to Remember?

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    • #67335
      PocoPer
      Participant

      I’m finding myself frustrated and need some input please. We’re new to ADHD. From what the doctor who diagnosed my son said, he is on the spectrum for ADHD but it’s minor. We see it manifest in areas where he’s not fully engaged and also with his emotions. I share this info to set the context as I don’t know what others are managing with. We find though it’s popping up in areas such as school a lot especially around remembering to write down homework and bringing the corresponding books home. I don’t want to make my son feel bad about forgetting. I also don’t want to enable him and “fix” the problem all the time. I’m not sure what the balance is–how much should I step in? And have any of you found any tactics that help? He’s doing well grade-wise and I don’t want his grades to slip because of forgotten homework. Just not sure how to attack this.

      Thanks in advance!

    • #67336
      BRLK
      Participant

      The things you describe are executive functioning issues and are extremely common for people with ADHD. You don’t say how old your son is and whether or not you’ve met with the teacher or school to discuss, but for my son (now 11 and in middle school) things that have worked include keeping an extra set of his textbooks/workbooks at home or having access to his homework from our computer (often math curriculum has an accompanying website with all the work on it available for download), having him take a picture of the assignment written on the board with his iPad, having the teacher send all his homework for the week home on Monday or Friday instead of daily, having a checklist taped to the top of his desk or attached to his backpack to remind him to bring it home and enlisting the teacher’s help to remind him. Now that my son is in middle school they have a planner check in one of their classes that they are graded on. My son uses an electronic planner on his iPad to track his homework and it works great for him.

      • #67338
        PocoPer
        Participant

        BLRK: Thank you!!! My son is 8 and in 3rd grade. We have met with his teacher and we do have a checklist in place, but sometimes that is forgotten. Your suggestions are phenomenal, thank you! I also love the idea of having a tablet and taking a picture of the homework. I’ll have to ask his teacher if that would be allowed. I also love the idea of asking for the homework for the week prior. We’ll have to see if we can get that in place.

        I’ll tell you, being new to this I feel like I’m a baby trying to learn how to walk. You just grabbed my hand and helped me get on my feet, thank you!

        May I also ask–what are your thoughts about working with the executive functioning vs. enabling? Where’s that line? I’m so new to this that I don’t know how far we have to go or not if that makes sense?

        Hope so!

        Thanks!

    • #67340
      BRLK
      Participant

      It can sometimes feel overwhelming but I’m sure you’ve got this 👍 my son was dx at 6yrs. Honestly it’s just a lot of trial and error because every kid and every situation is different. And a lot of patience. As far as enabling goes remember that kids with adhd are typically 2-3yrs behind in maturity. That combined with poor natural executive functioning skills they are simply not capable of taking on the same level of personal responsibility as their peers. At young ages I think it’s fine to do some handholding. You’re giving them tools and practice so that they can be successful now and later hopefully use those skills more independently. I don’t see it as enabling, but as coaching. We used many of the tools I shared leading up to this year and now he’s using the tools we gave him independently in middle school. In my opinion if you push too much personal responsibility on a child who is not ready, they will find themselves failing over and over which can lead to a sense of failure in an area they simply weren’t prepared to succeed in and eventually they’ll give up trying.

    • #67350
      PocoPer
      Participant

      Thank you, BRLK. Very sage advice. I appreciate your insights. I’m going to keep them in mind as we go through this, I have a feeling they will help!

      • This reply was modified 3 years ago by PocoPer.
    • #67354
      courtney
      Participant

      My son was diagnosed in 8th grade (now in 9th). I might add that at times it takes educating the educator on executive functioning disorder and what it is, what it can look like etc. My son is gifted & talented as well, so we came across many teachers that just felt like he should be able to do things that he just was not capable of. He had missing assignments constantly. Has dysgraphia, so writing in a planner – not going to happen. We used an Executive Functioning coach over the summer and I picked up 2 executive functioning workbooks that he worked on so that he could become more aware of his strengths and weaknesses. I feel these really helped him grow in the area of planning and organizing. He developed a system this year himself. After each class if he has homework in it, the book/folder get placed immediately in his backpack, otherwise in his locker. We color coded subjects notebooks/folders/book covers (if needed) all the same color for one subject. Helping form habits is not enabling – its coaching. For a child with a broken leg we would not say “you have 2 legs, walk” we would put on a cast, get physical therapy, use a wheelchair or crutches. This is the same thing. Though they have everything, they just cannot put it all together as another child would, we need to guide and coach before they can run and soar!

      • #67632
        PocoPer
        Participant

        Courtney: Thank you! I love the broken leg analogy, it’s so true! Would you mind sharing the names of the workbooks? Wondering if they’d help us. Are there any other resources that someone who is not familiar with how executive functioning shows up could use? Being new to this, I’m still trying to discern between resources and trying to understand those that are reputable…

        Thanks so much!

      • #75737
        courtney
        Participant

        Pocoper – Sorry I just saw that you had replied to my post. The workbooks are: “Train Your Brain for Success” by Randy Kulman, PhD and “The Executive Functioning Workbook for Teens” by Sharon A. Hansen, MSE, NBCT. Another GREAT book is “Late, Lost & Unprepared: A Parent’s Guide to helping Children with Executive Functioning” This book provided so much insight and “Oh, that’s why XXX does or doesn’t do XXX” moments and then how to rectify/assist. Best of luck! Please feel free to reach out to me. I do think it is always a work in progress. We just need to keep providing ways to practice what is needed without there being detrimental consequences on failing. I feel we may be looked at as helicopter parents to those who do not understand EFD; but we just got to do what is best for our kiddos. And momma knows best right? 😉

    • #67391
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      Yes, what you are describing is executive functioning delays, and that almost always comes with ADHD. Here’s what it is and what you can do about it.

      Executive Function Disorder, Explained!

      How to Treat Executive Function Disorder

      Penny
      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #73902
      acoros
      Participant

      As a young adult who has been living with ADD and taking medication since age 9, I can say that you can never really be “taught” how to remember. That being said, I also successfully graduated high school, graduated college Magna Cum Laude, and have successfully applied to graduate school. I suppose part of this is because I’m not unintelligent, nor does your son seem unintelligent, but a large part of it is because of the planning and organization system that I put in place and stuck to religiously. I have a color coordinated organization system that I began using in middle school and still use today. For example, the color for my English class was purple. That meant that the binder was purple, the folder was purple, the spiral notebook was purple, and the pen that I used to write my English assignments in my planner was purple. Every class had a color; English was always purple, math was always blue, history was always pink, elective 1 was always green, and elective 2 was always orange. I used this system from middle school through college, and will use it in grad school. I wasn’t always comfortable with telling my parents about my assignments because I wanted to be able to function with severe ADD on my own, but when I had a really important assignment I would send a picture of the assignment that I had written down in my planner to my mom; even if she didn’t look at the picture closely she knew to remind me that I had an important assignment. At the end of each school day I would look at my planner and rather than having to read the assignments I could just see which colors I had written down and I would know which binders, folders, notebooks, etc. I had to put in my backpack. I was lucky, and the schools that I went to provided two sets of text books so that I didn’t have to remember to take a book home, but if your son has to then I would suggest coordinating the book covers as well. Even the insides of my notebooks and folders have to be organized; work to be completed or written instructions for an assignment would go in the right pocket and once it was completed it would be put in the left pocket. I had very severe ADD when I was younger, and even though it’s not as severe now, it will follow me through life so my system has to be quite rigid. Your son may not need an organization system quite as expansive as mine, but in my experience organization is key. When I had low grades in school it wasn’t because I was getting the work wrong, but because I was forgetting to turn the work in. He needs to find an organization system that works for him and that he can be consistent with. Every child and every case is different, but once I found what worked for me school got so much less stressful and I could focus on succeeding rather than just surviving.

    • #74909
      william.kuba
      Participant

      The key is to make the learning stick is apply it to something he is motivated by. Help him find those points where he begins to lose focus. That’s when he needs to go outside and just yell at a squirrel. The squirrels won’t take it personal and it helps throw the switch to reset.

      I work with college kids every day with ADHD, autism, the whole list as a student success advisor. The big challenge is not to let your son get down on himself. Kids tend to become their own worst enemies when they can’t meet their own expectations. At some point they will start saddling up to depression and when they climb in that hole it is tough to crawl out. There is a reason I am the only non-engineer in my family and proud to be a PE major.

      Have him make appointments with himself in his phone. I will make appointments with my self for when I have a report to do. That helps me begin to focus on that task. No quick fixes. Some of it you just have to grow into with experience to reference what works / doesn’t work for the individual. I have my doctorate and it took a while to get to and through it. If I can do it anyone can.

    • #75358
      JKB
      Participant

      I’m new to parenting an ADHD child (11 year old boy) and new to this forum. Happy to have a community of others to learn from – in particular around this issue of remembering!

    • #75734
      Sgtt45
      Participant

      About a year and a half ago I obtained custody of my 12 year old niece. She was about 3 years behind in school and had never been tested but was given a generic learning disability. We had her tested by the recommendation of her teacher and they said she had ADD. This post rang so true to me. Even though she is now on medication I am not seeing much difference. I do not know what other issues there may be but after reading about the EFD it seems spot on. Should I ask her doctor about this? Would the doctor be able to differentiate the two or do I need to find a specialist? It is sooooo frustrating trying to get simple things done consistently but I am trying to learn other methods to help her.
      Thanks!

      • #75735
        courtney
        Participant

        EFD is directly related to ADD/ADHD. It is one of the symptoms. Her medication may not be at the right dosage. Speak to her doctor, ask your niece if she had noticed a change in her focus and distractability. Growth may cause a need for an increase in medication dosage. There are two works books that I highly recommend. “Train Your Brain for Success” & “The Executive Functioning Workbook for Teens”. These are for the child/student to go through and it helps them figure out where their weaknesses are and then there are activities to help them in these areas. Then another EXCELLENT book is “Late, Lost & Unprepared: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning” This is super insightful! Lots of “Oh, that’s why XXX does XXX” moments when reading it. Lucky her to have you for her aunt and in her court!

    • #75750
      Sgtt45
      Participant

      I see thanks.

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