Executive function is the process that allows us to organize, prioritize, and analyze. ADHD and other neurobiological problems can inhibit a person’s ability to do these seemingly normal tasks due to an abnormal dopamine level in their frontal lobe. Children with ADHD can struggle with organizing or remembering which books or supplies they’ll need for future tasks. It can be frustrating to a parent or teacher, and punishment isn’t helpful.
If your child struggles with staying organized, here are some tips for in the classroom to help them stay on task:
- Have separate sets of supplies at home and at school. Minimize them being required to transport items to and from school.
- Find the right supplies. Children with ADHD can benefit from having assignment notebooks with larger ruled lined, so there’s more space to write. If their backpacks are crammed with loose papers, try folders with pockets for easy storage.
- If a teacher cannot supply printed assignments, your student can benefit from writing down the entire assignment in color coded notebooks for each subject. This will help you and your child know what is expected of them and you can verify any conflicting information with their teacher as needed.
- If your child finds folders helpful to stay organized, you can color code those as well with the notebooks so they know which folders and notebooks are for which subjects (i.e. red for math, blue for science, green for reading/writing).
- Always listen to your child. Ultimately they will learn to know what works best for them and can give excellent feedback on what will help them thrive. And be patient, they will not learn organizational skills overnight and will need help along the way.