Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder makes your child's brain a virtual beehive of activity. The various buzzing thoughts often lead to very creative and innovative ideas and problem-solving skills, but the mess it leaves behind is one to be reckoned with. Disorganization can lead to decreased productivity, lower grades and a feeling of being overwhelmed for students with ADHD or ADD. Let's take a look at some ways you can help your student stay organized while their mind is swarming with lots of different thoughts.
Model What "Neat" Looks Like
Your child's vision of "neat" probably differs greatly from yours. If you're asking your child to tidy up their room or desk, the finished project might fall short of your expectations. A good idea is to show your child what you think "neat" or "clean" entails. Help them tidy their room, desk or backpack and then take a picture of the final product. This can be your child's reference point for when they're asked to organize their things.
Children with ADHD are excellent multitaskers. However, one of the keys to organization is to finish just one project at a time. Work with your child to begin, and then finish, just one organization project. Scaffold this action with them several times so that the actions eventually become automatic. After lots of practice, the act of putting pencils in a cup after they have put away their completed homework will become automatic.
Copy Your Child's Teacher
Meet with your child's teacher to see what organizational systems they already have in place. Since most teachers are organizational gurus, if you keep these routines in place at home it will likely assist your child as well. For example, if your child's teacher uses a green bin for turning in homework, have your child put their completed homework in a green folder. Using your child's teacher as a resource is a great idea to learn tools and tips that you can easily transfer into your home.
Staying organized is not impossible for students with ADD, but it does require some understanding of how your child's brain operates. With some guided practice, these routines will eventually become automatic and will provide organizational skills that will assist your child for a lifetime!