Learning Challenges

Helping Children with ADHD Organize Their Thoughts

“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?”

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?”