When I’m planning a classroom visit parents will often tell me that I’ll have no problem figuring out which desk belongs to their child – it’s the one overflowing with papers, books, pencils, and countless random items. Problems with organization can seem like they aren’t as impairing as other ADHD-related difficulties, like impulsivity or difficulty staying focused, but in fact, studies show that the kids with ADHD who struggle the most academically are those who have the greatest difficulty with organization. When children are disorganized, it’s harder for them to find their materials and get started right away, they have a harder time blocking out the visual clutter so they can stay on task, and their self-esteem can suffer if they are frequently criticized for their messy work area by parents and teachers and are teased by peers who label them as the messy student in the classroom.
While it may appear that a disorganized child with ADHD is careless or sloppy, often these students care very much about their materials and wish they could have a neat desk like their classmates. The problem is that the executive functioning skills required for organization are underdeveloped, making it almost impossible for them to maintain an organized desk and work area on their own. For kids with ADHD, getting organized and staying organized requires structure and support from their teacher and repeated practice of organizational skills and strategies.
Here is a simple 5 step process that will help the student get the support that they need:
While it’s unlikely that a child with ADHD will go from being highly disorganized to the neatest student in the classroom overnight, with a few supportive strategies and daily practice the student can keep his or her materials reasonably organized and will no longer stand out as having a desk that’s the messiest one in the room.
Mary Rooney, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. Dr Rooney is a researcher and clinician specializing in the evaluation and treatment of ADHD and co-occurring behavioral, anxiety, and mood disorders. A strong advocate for those with attention and behavior problems, Dr. Rooney is committed to developing and providing comprehensive, cutting edge treatments tailored to meet the unique needs of each child and adolescent. Dr. Rooney's clinical interventions and research avenues emphasize working closely with parents and teachers to create supportive, structured home and school environments that enable children and adolescents to reach their full potential. In addition, Dr. Rooney serves as a consultant and ADHD expert to Huntington Learning Centers.
Huntington Learning Center is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students of all levels succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington's mission is to give every student the best education possible. Call us today at 1.800.CAN LEARN to discuss how Huntington can help your child. For franchise opportunities please visit www.huntingtonfranchise.com.
This website does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only.