Last week, I wrote about deciphering disorganization and the possible neurodevelopmental connections. I’d like to revisit this subject and offer some suggestions to help correct these problems. Naturally, it is up to the parent and teacher to be aware of these problems. Most teachers would find it a great help to receive parent input and you are the first line of defense.
More clues to taking a closer look at the student’s work product – a working template
Is the student’s written output less sophisticated than his oral output ? The problem might be inattentiveness, graphomotor problems such as incorrect pencil grip or unusual letter shapes. This has to do with weak signals being sent from the brain to the hand, jumping into as task too quickly, making little avoidable or “careless” mistakes, wandering mind like daydreaming which can happen without any obvious distractions, getting lost in the middle of a task, and extreme interest in nonacademic activities. Fun activities are very distracting and are much less mentally draining, unlike remembering how to use a search engine, and picking ineffective search engine words, or trouble using reasoning and logic to discover a solution especially when the child can’t fall back on known procedures.
Another strategy to think about when you recognize some of the above issues is to consider the level or quality of the child’s organization ability. From the book “How Can My Kid Succeed at School”, Craig Pohlman, Ph.D. suggests you avoid thinking of disorganization as a yes / no proposition. Rather he says, “consider the level or quality of organization. One possibility is to use a rating scale, with 1 being a total state of disarray, and 10 representing impeccable organization. By looking at this issue as a continuum, you’ll make setting progress goals for students seem more attainable.”
As he explains, it might seem almost impossible for a disorganized child to become organized but if the student can see that he falls at a 3 on the disorganization scale, he may have the motivation to work harder and get a 6. This success could possibly resolve his academic issues, particularly if you throw in a small reward for this accomplishment. He may even begin to complete homework assignments on time.