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Organizing for your Special Needs Child – ADHD, Tips for Home

Entry #397, January 25, 2011

When we think of disorganization amongst children and teens, we think it is due to a lack of focus, or just plain laziness.  What about children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)? ADHD is a problem with inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity,or a combination. Children and teens who have been diagnosed with ADHD will have difficulty organizing themselves, and therefore it will make their environment frustrating and uncomfortable to live in.

kids crafts_labor day

Help your kids, arm them with organization help

Today, I found an article from Family Education – What parents can do to get their children organized. A very interesting article, and one that will help many parents help their children get organized in the home and for school.

by Sandra F. Rief, M.A.

Hamilton Beach Giveaway

Disorganization and lack of time awareness are common characteristics of ADHD. A child or teen with ADHD is likely weak in these skills and will need your help, support, and “coaching” in order to be successful in school. Try not to be critical; instead, keep in mind that this is part of the disorder.

Tips to help your child with organization:

  • Provide your child with a backpack and notebook/binder according to teacher’s specifications.
  • Provide all necessary supplies for school and homework.
school_supplies

Provide necessary supplies for school and homework

  • Label your child’s materials and possessions with her name.
  • With your child, choose a place in the home that has adequate lighting, is comfortable for working, and is as free from distractions as possible.
  • With your child, carefully examine his work space. Make sure your child has a large, working surface (desktop) free from clutter. If your child has a computer, don’t place it on his desk, which cuts down considerably on his working surface area. Instead, place the computer on a separate desk or table.
ADHD_desk

Ensure proper lighting, organization and work surface area

  • Have your child clear out desk drawers and shelves of work, projects, and papers that were from different school years. Together, decide on what you would like to keep and store out of the way (in colored boxes, or zipper portfolios) in order to make room for current papers and projects.
  • Provide a file with color-coded folders in which your child can keep papers stored categorically.
  • Keep trays and bins for storing supplies/materials in order to remove some of the clutter from the desktop.
  • Keep a three-hole punch and electric pencil sharpener easily accessible.
  • Besides a master calendar (in kitchen), provide your child with a desk calendar that serves as an overview of important dates, activities, and events.
  • Assist your child with cleaning and organizing by getting her started.
  • Provide your child with a cork board and pins to hang up important papers.
  • Hang dry erase boards and markers in the kitchen and your child’s room for important notes and messages.
ADHD_organizing

Use visual organization – pin up, bulletin, and dry erase boards

  • Make the time to help your child clean and organize his backpack, notebook, desk, and room.
  • Provide the necessary supplies to help your child be organized at school. (You will likely have to replace and replenish supplies often.) Have her take inventory of what needs replacement, or ask the teacher.
  • Provide the necessary storage space (shelves, closet space, bins, trays, and drawers) for organizing your child’s room efficiently.
storage_kids_wall_CS

Storage, display, sitting, everything in one place and out of the way

  • Besides supplies/materials in the room (e.g., on the desk) maintain a homework supply kit.
  • Encourage and help your child get in the habit of putting all books, notebooks, signed notes, and other necessary materials inside the backpack before bedtime. Place them in the same spot every night
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