Coaching Organizational Skills To ADD/ADHD Children
Thursday, September 22, 2011 2 Comments
Overcoming the Biggest Roadblock to Young Success
Guest blogger: Dr. Steven Richfield
Of all the struggles associated with ADD/ADHD, organizational problems create the greatest havoc in children’s academic lives.
Forgotten or misplaced homework assignments, lost supplies, poor long term planning, and underestimating task demands are a few of the typical traps that sabotage school performance.
The resulting stress imposed upon family relationships, coupled with the damage incurred by the child’s self-esteem, makes it vital that children learn ways to overcome the organizational chaos so typical of ADD/ADHD.
Parents wishing to coach organizational skills to their ADD/ADHD children can benefit from the following strategies.
Education and Information
Educate your child about the practical challenges imposed by ADD/ADHD.
Many children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD hold only a simple understanding of their condition. Labels such as “focusing problem” or “being too hyper” don’t begin to capture the interferences with managing the demands of life.
Consider the following explanation: “ADD/ADHD pushes people off the path of getting things done. It can block you from taking the time to write down a school assignment, or place a homework sheet in the right place, or remember to do it, or to file it away once it’s completed, or to hand it in the next day.”
Point out how these examples have surfaced in your child’s school life but assure them that there are ways to control for these troubles.
Explain how to control ADD/ADHD interferences
Explain how controlling ADD/ADHD interferences is similar to developing a “personal navigational system.”
ADD/ADHD children are often unaware of how random events, such as dropping a pencil on the floor, can open up another thought pattern in their mind and steer them far away from picking up important cues in the classroom.
- Expose how you have witnessed this at home, and emphasize how distracting habits push them off track, and therefore must be minimized.
- Describe how ADD/ADHD causes people to drift off course and ignore the signals that teachers send to students about what is important to remember for tests/quizzes or to include within written assignments, etc.
Pinpoint how they can prompt themselves
Pinpoint how they can prompt themselves at different times of the day to mentally check up on their self-management.
Suggest that they silently ask themselves, “How’s my steering and have I stayed on track so far?“
- Stress how their rush to leave a class once the bell rings or to speak with a classmate rather than carefully listen to a teacher’s last minute instructions will cause them to ignore critical organizational cues.
- Help them develop a list of those times during the day when “organizational check points” would be especially helpful.
- Do the same for the home and encourage them to practice drilling themselves until these check-points become routine.
Coach them about the importance of planning and thinking in advance.
ADD/ADHD cultivates a mindset that focuses upon present wishes and whims rather than future responsibilities and commitments. Children need help developing a view of the road ahead in life. Here is one way to approach this critical need:
“By remembering to ask yourself three questions throughout the day,
you can make life run more smoothly:
Help them assimilate the following three questions by prompting them at pivotal points while they are on their “life road.”
(1) What do I have to remember to do today?
(2) Before I leave this place, do I have everything I need? and
(3) What’s coming up in the next few days that I need to prepare for now?”
Dr. Steven Richfield is a child psychologist in Plymouth Meeting, PA. He has developed a child-friendly, self-control/social skills building program called Parent Coaching Cards now in use in thousands of homes and schools around the world.
His new book, The Parent Coach: A New Approach To Parenting In Today’s Society is available through Sopris West ( 1-800-547-6747) He can be contacted at director at (use the symbol) parentcoachcards.com (or 610-238-4450).
More ADD/ADHD Resources on this site:
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