Any tips on helping a disorganised child get organised at secondary?

(55 Posts)
racingheart Fri 30-Aug-13 22:22:21

DS2 about to start secondary and is a bit of a dreamer. He forgot something almost every day at primary school - homework, clothes, kit, forms, none of it came home on the right day and even if he did homework he was proud of, he often took it to school then forgot to hand it in.

At his secondary, I'm told teachers are much tougher on disorganisation. It's also a long way from where we live, so I can't drop by and deliver anything left at home.

Any tips on helping them focus, especially when they are at school would be really useful. I can help him check when he's at home, but it's that end of the day moment when he has to run for a train and will be chatting with friends that makes me concerned.

sassymuffin Thu 05-Sep-13 00:20:54

My DS has dyspraxia and started secondary school today. One of his main issues is disorganisation it was the red flag that lead to his diagnosis.

The main advice we have had is photocopy his time table multiple times keep copies in his blazer, bedroom, kitchen (or by calendar) etc. get different coloured plastic coverings for his books and colour in his timetable with corresponding colour ie chemistry - yellow - english blue etc.

Have a clear plastic box in the hall or somewhere similar where he can completely empty his bag EVERY day then repack for the next day (this also helps school newletters find their way to you.

Keep a secondary supply of pens, pencils etc because inevitabley he may loose something and it is best to avoid panic as this distracts from tasks such as homework.

Finally don't be afraid to mention to the school that your DS has issues regarding remembering things but that he is working on this area - you never know it may save him from a reprimand in the first couple of weeks.

BalloonSlayer Thu 05-Sep-13 07:03:52

I think another important thing is to accept that some children need more support than others and to keep discreetly helping, reminding, checking, in the background. A lot of parents think "well he's at secondary now, he'll have to sort it for himself" and just bow out. Which is fine when the child is an organised person, but when they are not they can end up with no diary, no PE kit, no books etc in a very short space of time. And teachers lose patience with the child who never has their book/a pen/a calculator. None of us want a child who is still depending on us to fill their pencil case at the age of 18 but it is daft to suggest that every child is capable of managing this for themselves at 11.

Another thing worth teaching them is: what to say when they are late for a lesson, and what to say when they do forget homework. A children who comes in late and grunts at the teacher will not go down well. A child who comes in late who clearly says to the teacher without prompting: "I'm sorry I'm late Mrs X" is a different matter. Similarly if they DO forget their homework, saying nothing until asked for it, looking blank, denying any knowledge then finally when pressed saying in a surly fashion that they have done it but forgotten it, is a common but tiresome practice. Going straight to see the teacher at the start of the lesson to say "Mr S I am really sorry but I forgot my homework, I did do it but I left it at home" is likely to get a far more sympathetic approach.

racingheart Fri 06-Sep-13 15:45:09

Sassy - thank you for all those tips. I'm PMing you re diagnosis.

racingheart Fri 06-Sep-13 15:50:51

Balloon slayer, this is so true. Primary school took the attitude: you just have to sort this out now you're in Yr6 but it became clear to me that he just can't, not that he can't be bothered, but he's not wired to remember what he was asked to do ten seconds ago, let alone three lessons ago. He just isn't set up to remember in that way and no amount of sanctions and shouting helps. Understandably he gets upset when others (including me) get frustrated at him.

OInterestingly he has superb memory in other areas. It's definitely linked to organisational skills. He can recall entire plots of books and movies in minute details and has photographic memory when it comes to spellings.

sassymuffin Fri 06-Sep-13 17:36:45

Sounds exactly like my DS, I have replied to your PM racing.

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