Rick Lavoie, author and educator well known for his personal insight and work with students with ADHD and LD, wants you to know that kids with LD are not only "different" from the general population, they are also "different" from one another. However, most share the one single challenge, a lack of organizational skills. Rick describes most kids with learning disorders as having limited and inefficient internal structure, struggling to organize their belongings, prioritize their actions, allot their time efficiently and meet deadlines.
Rick, who has significant ADHD himself, says "Those of us with attentional problems view the world differently from others. We are extremely visual and we need to see things in order to remember and organize them. If it is out of sight, it is out of mind. We need to keep our important documents and materials in piles that are readily viewable and accessible. This system ain't pretty, but it works. Judge the student's "organizational system" based on its effectiveness....not it's appearance."
He offers this list of techniques to try with your students to help them face the organizational challenges of each school day.
1. If the kid continually forgets his books, get two sets, one for home and one for school.
2. Because kids with learning problems are unable to distinguish between "valuable" and "useless," they save everything. To avoid the backpack becoming a black hole, have the student empty it entirely once a week, and one by one replace the necessary items back in and eliminate the unnecessary.
3. Support an assignment pad or book with a monitoring system facilitated by some adult at school and at home. When in place a study buddy could take over.
4. As much as possible maintain a structured, orderly, predictable environment at home with regularly scheduled meals, bedtime and wake up as this is crucial for the student.