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Sneaky ways to help kids with special needs stay organized at school

Michelle Maffei is a freelance copywriter covering a variety of topics both online and in print, from parenting to beauty and more. Combining her two favorite loves, writing and motherhood, she has found joy in even the most challenging ...

Teach kids with special needs and learning disabilities to kick clutter in the pants

Kids with learning disabilities and special needs like ADD, ADHD and dyspraxia have a tough time with organization skills. So, kids like mine get labeled as "messy students" before the first week of school is even through. While busting down the classroom door in his defense would feel good, it won't do anyone any good. These sneaky ways to help "messy" kids stay organized at school will help them succeed in the classroom and at home.

For our son, organization is a HUGE issue — especially at school. Here are some tips for school and home mixed with what works for us.

Use a color-coding system with folders and bins. From three-ring binders filled with dividers to folders inside the backpack to keep track of school work, giving kids with learning disabilities a system to keep organized is vital to keeping clutter to a minimum.

Tape notes to the desk for procedures and expectations. Written reminders are a huge help for kids who need help staying organized. From reminders of morning routines to notes about positive rewards, visual reminders are the golden ticket for kids with ADHD, ADD, dyspraxia and other learning disabilities.

Supply a schedule and a clock. Use planners to remind your little learner to turn in permission slips, collect homework and keep track of a daily schedule, including times. Then make sure your child has access to an easy-to-read digital clock, which also helps kids with ADD and dyspraxia to manage their time, too.

Make space for a bookshelf and a bulletin board for reminders. Even if you don't have the space to set up a desk, an exclusive bookshelf and a bulletin board will make it easier for your clutter-prone child to keep school supplies organized and focus on learning come homework time.

Use sticky notes for reminders around your house. Even the average adult needs reminders, so put those sticky notes to good use by listing tasks and steps around the house for your kid to reference. Practice makes perfect, even with organization skills, and soon you may find your child doesn't need to peek at the notes.

Keep an extra set of textbooks at home. Forgotten textbooks at school seem to be our son's biggest challenge to staying organized, but you can request an extra set of textbooks to be kept at home for kids with learning disabilities. Just be sure to have it included in your child's IEP.

Prep for the next day. Time management is your best secret weapon when you have kids with learning disabilities, so hone in on organization skills the night before so your child isn't forced to scramble to get things ready in the a.m. Organization expert Tonia Tomlin of Sorted Out suggests you even clear out a drawer or designate a place in the pantry for lunch snacks and supplies at a level where your little helpers can get involved. Prepping ahead is a huge part when it comes to helping kids with special needs succeed.

For kids with learning disabilities like ADHD, ADD, dyspraxia and more, these sneaky ways to help them stay organized at school and at home will make learning less of a fight and more of a team effort.

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