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Organizing Your ADHD Students

- Have you ever found weeks worth of homework assignments in your ADHD students desk, shoved 'way in the back? If you have, then you want to read this section.

- Parents, does your ADHD student spend two hours at home working, crying, whining, and then working to finally complete a fifteen minute homework assignment, only to not get it turned in the next day in class? Then read through this section for some ideas to improve the situation.

Tips for Organizing Your ADHD Students

Organize the ADD ADHD child's environment.

Use dividers and folders in his desk so he can easily find things.

Teach him how to organize himself better.

Help the child with Attention Deficit Disorder to organize his written work or numbers.

Allow the ADD ADHD child to move a pencil or his finger across the page while reading. If he's writing, allow him to use one or two fingers for spacing between words.

During math, graph paper may be very helpful to organize his numbers and columns.

Your attention deficit student will function better when able to anticipate times requiring increased concentration. A visual representation of the day's schedule will provide another opportunity to internalize classroom routine.

Break longer assignments into a series of smaller "sprints" for the ADD ADHD student to complete one after another. Your Attention Deficit student will feel less "overwhelmed" and he will complete the total project in far less time.


ADHD Student Organization Tips

Consider having the ADD ADHD student complete every second or third problem, instead of answering each one. Require him to show mastery of concepts.

Emphasize practice and assignment completion on the word processor to lower the frustration many ADD ADHD students feel with written work.

Model an organized classroom and model the strategies you use to cope with disorganization.

Establish a daily classroom routine and schedule.

Show that you value organization by following 5 minutes each day for the children to organize their desks, folders, etc.

Reinforce organization by having a "desk fairy" that gives a daily award for the most organized row of desks.

Use individual assignment charts or pads that can go home with the child to be signed daily by parents if necessary.

Develop a clear system for keeping track of completed and uncompleted work such as having individual hanging files in which each child can place completed work and a special folder for uncompleted work.

Develop a color coding method for your room in which each subject is associated with a certain color that is the that subjects textbook cover and on the folder or workbook for that subject.

Develop a reward system for in-school work and homework completion. One example of a system that reinforces both work quality and work quantity involves translating points earned into "dollars" to be used for silent auction at the end of grading period. For ADD ADHD children needing more immediate reinforcement, each completed assignment could earn the child a "raffle ticket" with her/his name on it . Prizes or special privileges could be awarded on the basis of a random drawing held daily or weekly.

Write schedule and timelines on the board each day.

Provide due dates for assignments each day.

Divide longer assignments into sections and provide due dates or times for the completion of each section.

Tape a checklist to the ADD ADHD child's desk or put one in each subject folder/notebook that outlines the steps in following directions or checking to be sure an assignment is complete.

THE BLACK HOLE OF HOMEWORK exists in your ADD ADHD student's desk or backpack. We have seen attention deficit students struggle for hours with homework, only to not turn it in and then lose it in their desks or backpacks. Please check to make sure that they are actually turning in the work. It is strange but true. They have probably done the homework, but just are not paying attention when you ask them to turn it in.

HERE IS ANOTHER STRATEGY TO DEAL WITH THE BLACK HOLE OF HOMEWORK also known as the backpack: Get a large manilla envelope. Really large. The kind of envelope that businesses used to use to deliver documents from one department to another. Signature section printed right on the front. Duct-tape the folder to your child's backpack. Tell your child's teacher that you will insert the homework, and then sign the folder. Have the teacher remove the homework and sign the receipt. Minimize opportunities for your child to lose the homework. You have invested too much time in getting the homework done to let your child lose it now.

Provide study guides or outlines of the content you want the child to learn, or let the child build her/his own study guide with worksheets that have been positively corrected.

Be clear about when student movement is permitted and when it is discouraged, such as during independent work times.

Your ADD ADHD student should be encouraged to utilize assignment sheets, broken down by day and subject. He or his teachers can record assignments at the completion of each task.

An organizing time at the end of each day can be helpful to gather the necessary materials for the assignments and develop a plan of action for completion. This will greatly aid the development of the "executive processes".

Some Attention Deficit ADD ADHD students now take a small dose of their medication when they come home from school to aid in studying/homework completion. Check with the doctor about the time period of maximum medication effectiveness to help set-up a sensible homework schedule.

One of the simplest interventions for ADD ADHD students is to have an extra set of textbooks at home to minimize the problem of not having the necessary homework materials.

Your ADD ADHD student should have a regularly scheduled time for cleaning up his desk at least once a week. However he may need some help from teachers, volunteers, or his parents.


Elementary School Intervention Pages:



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