Strategies to Help Disorganized Kids

More often than not, I speak with a parent who finds going through their child’s backpack a depressing and a frightening thought. I completely resonate with those emotions as the contents of back packs are sometimes like looking into a black hole! Within it may be a homework assignment due the previous week, a book report that was due the previous quarter, crumpled papers with illegible hand-writing, flyers for the parent to address, not to mention crumbs of cookies from the B.C. era. I’ve certainly experienced this with my students when I see a struggling student and I’d bet that most parents at some time have seen examples of this.

Parents and teachers need to understand that disorganization is an outgrowth of a neurodevelopmental profile and that the challenges include attention processing, disorganization of space and materials such as the desk, locker and gulp, backpack.

Weaknesses in active working memory can cause disorganized thinking such as in writing an essay or not being able to put things in sequential order. Time management also is an issue so the child never seems to complete long term projects.

If you recognize any of these symptoms, what do you do about it?

Expert in the field, Craig Pohlman, Ph.D in his book, “How Can My Kid Succeed in School?” explains,

“One strategy is to use a rating scale with 1 being a total state of disarray and 10 representing the ultimate organization. If you discuss the scale with your child and ask him to rate himself, he might choose a 2 and understand his disorganization. This may inspire him to work harder and go for a 4 the next time. This, in itself is encouraging and could resolve academic difficulties as the child may be inclined to hand in his homework on time.

Here are some more strategies I researched on the internet: Develop-Organizational-Skills #Gaining Organizational-Skills-at-School

1. – Get a spacious backpack. That seems obvious but I’ve seen ones that are not particularly serviceable for a disorganized student. The child would need one with multiple compartments which can assist in organizational development. As an example, keep books in one pocket, assignments and class folders in another, and school material like pencils, sharpies, calculators, etc. in a third.

2. – Take notes in class. A student can use multiple notebooks separated into sections with dividers for each class unless the teacher specifically assigns a folder which is either left in the class in an assigned place or possibly brought home to complete or start a new project or make-up incomplete assignments.

3. – Have a daily notebook to write a new assignment, project or test date. At the end of the day, the parent can review the assignments with the child and revise the larger list of existing assignments by check them off as complete or incorporating the new assignment with a due date.

Tags: Craig Pohlman, Ph.D., “How Can My Kid Succeed in School?” Neuro-Development, Time Management, Organizational Skills