Let’s Get Organised!

Organisation and organisational skills are incredibly important for children with PLD.  Start with simple things, like organising toys and clothes, it won’t be such a stretch when you begin to introduce organisational skills for school.  Continuing to build on your child’s organisational skills as they get older should make the demands of middle and high school a bit more possible.

  • Organisation is a necessity for a child with PLD.  Clutter makes it impossible for them to find anything, increasing their stress and doesn’t allow independence.
  • Visual perception problems make ‘seeing’ what they are looking for quite difficult.  Organise toys and possessions in small containers, such as milk crates or on shelves.  Use shelves for clothing instead of hangers or towel rods.  Clip outfits together or buy interchangeable clothing.
  • Remove the cupboard doors in the child’s room and fill it with shelves and cubbies for storing clothing and toys or other possessions.  Use collections as a means of teaching the child organisational skills.
  • Never rearrange the child’s bedroom without their involvement.  Your order may be his or her chaos.  Involve the child in keeping their room tidy, gradually transferring more of the responsibility to them as they become more adept.
  • Lists and reminders help them to organise their day and remember important things.  Post-its are helpful for written reminders.
  • Create a schedule for the child’s school routine.  Make it small, and provide the child with a clean copy each day to put in their pocket.  Have teachers mark scheduling changes to the child’s copy first thing in the morning.  For the older child, put a second larger copy in their folder.  Use a daily agenda or planner for homework and assignments.
  • Colour-code school books and related materials, use a three ring binder that zips closed, include heavy-duty folders and teach the child a procedure for managing papers in the folder.  Verbally script this organisational process.  Be sure that everything that the child will need during the school day fits in the folder.

Colour-coding books and associated materials such as folders involves covering the text book with a particular colour, mark it with a piece of coloured tape or use some other method that allow the child to quickly see which book she is looking for.

Colour code the child’s timetable and note books to match the text book colours e.g. Maths on the timetable, note book and text/work book may all be coloured red.  If there is specialist maths equipment e.g. calculator, protractor or compass could be stored in a pencil case also coloured red.  Art supplies can be in another pencil case coloured blue to match a note book.

Remember that whatever organisational system you implement, the child will probably use it for many years.  When you create a procedure, involve the child in the process, and don’t forget to script the child through it.  Let the child pick the colours, but as you put everything together, talk through ‘Green is for science because it reminds me of the grass and trees, so we’ll use the green contact and cover your science book.”  Even though you are colour coding, don’t forget to mark in large print what the subject area is.  Naturally, there will be little modifications as the child’s needs change, but the overall system will probably continue.  So, if you find a folder or binder that really works well for your child, stock up.

It is also important to talk with your child’s teacher about these practices.  Some negotiation may be needed as there may a system the teacher employs for the whole class.  If this is the case, your child may not want to be different and some modifications may need to occur.

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