In my life, I will admit, even though I am organized. I DO have to work so hard at it as I said before... I have to keep up with it and keep at it (routine) or it will most definitely turn into ORGANIZATIONAL CHAOS!| So, below I am going to list some tips I use to keep organized and then explain how I use them and how it works.
1. List are a GOD SEND!
- For the APD child, having list are a GOD SEND! We need visuals to help us know what we need to do. I make list for EVERYTHING. However, depending on your child you can go about list a different way. For me, I like everything that I have to do on the list, this way I can check off the ones I do as I go along and feel like im accomomplishing something, however, some kids would find that too overwhelming and would get discouraged. So, if your kid who likes to know everything they have to do before hand like me then you(the parent) should make a list at the begining of the day at first and you could post it on a bulletin board or in their room where ever works best for them, then after they get the hang of that, the next week, get them to do the list with you. If they are ok at writing and can write(or even if they have trouble, this could be good practice) take the time to sit down with them and tell them one by one what they need to put on the list(you could have a copy made yourself already if you like and they can copy from it or you can just call it out to them whatever they prefer, but the key thing about this step is to have patience). Then while after while try reminding them less and less about making list and see if they remember to make one(do not pick a busy time to 'test the theory' because they may still forget and then they will be very overwhelmed and im sure you moms and dads are well aware of how much worse things are when your apd kid is overwhelmed).
**One idea you can use to get them motivated is to use different colours for different task
2. My Agenda is my best friend:)
- First I am going to start this by saying once again, as a kid I was most definitely not organized at ALL! I would get reports on my report card that said "Robyn is very disorganized" or "Robyn needs to be more cautious and careful with her work"... well little did they know all they needed to do was make organization a routine in the classroom and instead of being negative find my good qualities and then use those to help me in aiding my flaws. So, in high school, grade 11, when I moved to a new school that was when I REALLY got organized. My new best friend that I had met at this school was super into school stuff, top student, and very goal driven and I admired that I still do and wanted to be like that so I got myself an agenda just like her and started to write down my homework. I got a really pretty agenda(Tip for moms with girls: If you get one with a pretty design or one with a blank cover and then let them do the design of the cover themselves they are more likley to write in it. Well, it worked for me anyways) however organization dosen't happen overnight it took a lot of drive and extra work on my part but a lot of it was people just accepted I had a problem and didn't help me try and 'rehab' it so to speak. But when I got to this new school and the new best friend I was telling you about would write in her agenda(and since we both had a lot of the same classes) I would just go by her example, and then by the next year I had mannaged to get into the habit of writing in my agenda. Now, it is to the point where EVERYTHING goes in the agenda and if I loose my agenda I panic(that happened a few times in grade 12 - but I very quickly found it)
3. The Horror of School Notes and Sheets!
-This was one of my largest problems as a young kid and now, I freak if a sheet is out of place. When getting your kid ready for school, after your kid has had every subject and is told what they are expected to have use that as a guideline to try and keep them organized, however, don't make things too different that the kid gets confussed and can't keep order. For example, if your child is in a class where there is no text book and just hand out notes, try to keep them all in a binder. Have a folder slot in it so if there is no hole punch at the school they can come home and hole punch it. For the first while try and keep up with your kids binders and how they look and if pages are starting to get loose or ripped you have two options you can use the little round circles that you put where the hole punched holes are OR you can get plastic sleeves that way there is no holes in the sides you have to keep checking on and in my experience they tend to work really well. Another thing about the binder is make sure things are labeled. You can use sticker tab (mini sticky notes - I like the colour coded ones:P) or you can get dividers. All these things are generally not too expensive and make a world of difference when you are trying to keep your kid organized. You can label the notes by chapter or by section, or by dates. I tend to use a dividor for each chapter that way when I am reviewing its very easy to go back and find something. I normally use the dividers for chapters and then if there are things within the chapter that need to be seperated I use small sticky tabs. I get a bunch of colours in a pack at walmart or staples. However, if your childs class is all through the text book and not much notes I would suggest using a note book instead of writing all notes on the loose leaf because as I previously mentioned they rip really easy, unless of course your child gets another kids notes(which if they struggle with it and don't have a smart pen - they should get that as an accomidation- that was one of my key accomidation before I got my pen) then I would totally recommend the plastic sleves. They are wonderful for keeping things in place and you don't need to worry about pages getting ripped and falling out and then loosing some notes.
4. Keeping it all together
-If your in high school or younger, you don't really need to worry about this unless you have a very large school, however one tip that I began to develop in university(which is more for comfort than for organization) was to just take a clipboard to class with a legal pad of paper with things that needed to be wrote down, along with my agenda and if the class had one a text book. The reason being, when you are in university it is difficult to take home a bunch of binders and bring them to campus because its very difficult. However, what I do then is keep the binders at home I only bring binders if I have toutering and need older notes to review but in most cases I try to take as little as possible. Also, if you are in elementary school or even jr high you probably don't need a binder for each subject however instead of brining a clipboard, I would just have a bigger binder for all subjects and then use the dividors for each subject, and then, within each dividor use the little tabs for each chapter because at the younger levels you don't have too much to divide.
5. Bye bye locker clutter:)
- I am sure many of you parents are probably thinking " I hate that I am not at school, I can't be there helping them and I don't know what they are doing". However, all you can do is try to keep them organized at home and make organization fun. Don't make organization a chore make it a daily routined fun activity. Use things of their intrerest. For instance, I like music so if I am just organizing my binders and not studying what is in them I like to have my music playing. I also like things to be colourful so I enjoy colour coding things in my notes or whatever. So, hopefully when they go to school, they will keep their lockers clean. For instance, in my grade 12 year I bought a locker kit it was a extra shelf and a white board with marker and had some magnets and stuff to go in my locker and I used it to keep me organized and it was my favourite colour purple so because I loved the stuff in my locker I always wanted it to look neat so at the end of everyday(I was lucky I didn't have to catch a bus) I would tidy my locker and make sure my books for the next day were ready!
6. Staying organized at home
- Many of these tips I used before can be used at home. For instance keeping your locker clean, same as keeping room clean and making list for chores is the same as list for school task(colour coding them is the way to go). However, all and all, I will say the key to this all, and not just home but at school too is you need to have tons of patience with your APD kid because as I said this does not come over night. You just need to remember that if you do your part now, hopefully down the road it will catch on and they will be doing it on their own. Its like riding a bike. You need help at first and need your mom or dad to hold the seat but once you get the hang of it you never forget it. So just be patient and one day we will get it!:)