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Organization is Possible for Students with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

written by: Kristy • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 9/11/2012

When a student has ADHD, their life seems to be complete chaos with everything, including their thoughts, a disorganized mess. Teachers can help their students with organization skills in the classroom and with these simple steps, both student and teacher are sure to have a more successful year.

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    The ADHD Mind

    When a student has ADHD, the sensors in their brain get jumbled up and often they are overwhelmed with more than one thing at a time. Students with ADHD need simple, precise direction in order to process the thoughts one step at a time. Often a student with ADHD is disorganized only because they do not understand the process of organization. When teachers give their student too many processes at one time they often decide that the goal is impossible to accomplish. When considering the thought process of a student with ADHD, it is important to see things from their perspective and provide them with one piece of information at a time.

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    Organization in the Classroom

    Teachers have a lot to do and often do not have time to give students with ADHD individual attention. In most cases, a student can become organized with just a little extra help in the classroom and at home. When teachers and parents work together, the student has a much better chance to succeed.

    One way to help the student become organized is to provide them with a notebook with labeled pockets to help them remember where each classroom assignment belongs. A zippered notebook with inserted color coded folders will be very helpful. Label each folder according the subject, classwork, homework and completed assignments. This way, the assignments each have a place of their own and are easily accessible.

    Each day, when the student returns home, the parent can help their child organize their folders and keep track of daily assignments as well as homework and study sheets.

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    Organization in Daily Assignments

    The largest complaint for teachers of students with ADHD, is the lack of turned in assignments. In a lot of cases, the student has actually completed the assignment, but has just forgotten to turn it in. Most misconstrue this as laziness or that the student does not care about his/her grade. In most cases, it is just a matter of the student having organizational skills necessary to remember that the assignment is due.

    With the specially assigned folders, this will help the student with this task. Another helpful step is to provide a specific routine each day that enables the student to remember to turn in his/her assignment. When the teacher requests assignments from the students, asking the student directly about his/her work would help them to remember and get into the routine of handing it in.

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    Providing a Checklist

    Because students with ADHD have trouble keeping organized, a checklist with detailed tasks will help them become responsible for their assignments in the classroom. Teachers can provide a preprinted list of tasks for the student to keep in their binder. This will enable the student to check off completed assignments, turned in assignments, homework that is due, and allow for any extra notes about studying or other school related activities.

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    The ADHD Mind

    For the student with ADHD, it can be difficult to stay on task in school with all the distractions throughout the classroom. However with the teacher's help, and some new organizational skills, students with ADHD can stay organized and be successful and much happier in the classroom.