Helping a Child With ADHD Succeed in School

Focus on Planning and Organization

With consistency and determination, planning and organization skills can be taught. A typical struggle is executive functioning delays, which affect physical organization and cerebral organization skills such as time management, thought planning, and scheduling. Executive functioning delays are evident in students when they have trouble planning projects, knowing how much time a task might take, communicating a sequence in oral and written stories, and initiating tasks. If your child is struggling with these things, it's time to take action. Discuss expectations for organizing and completing assignments, turning in homework, exchanging parent-teacher communications, and so on.

Once these expectations are clearly defined (for instance, you will attempt to complete every assignment, you will turn in all homework including incomplete assignments), create a system that will maintain organization. "Most children who are truly disorganized will not be able to change their behavior in several areas at once. Focus on one area at a time and encourage your child to work on the tools that are easier for her to manage," says Donna Goldberg, author of The Organized Student. Continue to communicate with your child's teachers to make sure they are implementing and supporting the system at school until each step becomes habitual. If the system isn't being put into practice at school as well as at home, it will not work.

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