The ADHD brain is just wired a little differently. Students with ADHD may be bright, motivated and hard-working while still struggling with organization. Kids who don't get support for their organizational deficits may be frustrated and overwhelmed by school, which only contributes to behavioral and educational disruptions. Adopting a few simple strategies keeps kids on track and focused on more important things than wondering where their erasers went.
Double Up on Supplies
Remembering to bring essentials back and forth between school and home can be challenging for students with ADHD. Stocking up on doubles of some items (like notebooks, art supplies and tools like a protractor) is one simple way to make sure that students have everything they need at both home and school, even if they're forgetful. If the family budget allows, buying used copies of the student's textbooks to keep at home means that he or she never has to worry about leaving books at school.
Rely on Technology
If the school's technology policy allows, students may find that using apps and text-based reminders helps with organization. Using a homework app designed for kids lets a student keep his assignments, appointments and schedule in one handy place. Students may also find it useful to set up calendar alerts that remind them to complete certain tasks at set times.
Choose the Right Supplies
The organizer and writing implements that work for one student might not suit the needs of another. Kids with ADHD may benefit from using unlined note paper, sticky notes for reminders and pens that are squishy or double as fidget toys. Color-coding supplies by subject can also help students stay organized. When it's time to do science homework, for example, finding the right notebook, folder and book is easy if they're all the same color.
Most importantly, making sure the student chooses or approves of all supplies is essential. He or she is the expert on what will work and what won't.
Request Assignments in Writing
Challenges with executive function are common in kids with ADHD. That makes it tough for these students to keep track of a lot of information at once, so verbal reminders may be lost on a kid with ADHD. Ask the student's teachers to provide assignment instructions and other important information in writing. Teachers now share a lot of instructions through email and web-based tools, but may give simple reminders like "permission slips are due tomorrow" in class.
Getting this accommodation from a student's teacher may require a parent's involvement. Especially if the child is documented as having ADHD, school administrators should be willing to support requests like this.
Our Brain Balance organizational chart can help your child stay on-task. It includes suggested morning, after school and evening routines. With some guided practice, these routines will eventually become automatic and will provide organizational skills that will assist your child for a lifetime!