Aug 042013
 

3 Ways Your Child Can Learn Organization Through His IEP, with Example IEP Goals

If your child has ADHD, executive function difficulties, or other learning difficulties, he needs direct instruction to learn organizational skills.

You’ll want to include IEP goals that involve direct teaching for your child to learn HOW to be organized.  When your child is disorganized, the skills necessary for organization will NOT come naturally.

There are three primary areas of instruction needed to make sure your child learns organization and planning skills:

  1. Establish Routines for arrival at school and departure from school – Routines must be performed with assistance DAILY until your child can walk through the habit without thinking.  Routines can be handled for the entire classroom or by checklist, but learning consistent routines for arrival and departure will help your child handle his schooling with  more consistency.
    If your child is going to remember his books and homework each day, his teacher(s) will have to tell him, “<child ‘s name>, put your assignment paper in the front of your notebook. Put your biology book in your bookbag.”  See item #2 for establishing checklists as a teaching tool.Eventually, when your child consistently follows the directions, your child’s teacher can shift to reminding your child to work through his routine procedure. Eventually, with enough consistency of practice, your child will know what to do.

    Your child may need to be told that every single day he has a paper with assignments for an entire or multiple school years until it becomes a natural process for your child to put both the paper and the book in his bookbag when he has homework.

  2. Teach your child to use printed checklists for common routine activities.  Your child will need to learn to use checklists daily for arriving at and departing from school and home.Going through the checklist will require you or your child’s teacher to walk your child through the list to make sure he thoughtfully considers each item before checking it off.

    Make sure routine lists are printed on laminated, heavy card stock or are kept inside a page protector to keep them from getting lost or torn.  Your child can use a dry erase marker to mark off items, then the list can be wiped clean for the next day’s use.

  3. Your child will also need direct instruction about how to break large school projects or papers into smaller steps, how to schedule the small steps, and to see how dividing a large assignment up into small pieces will help him complete the assignment in a timely manner.Make sure your child’s teacher helps your child see and understand the smaller steps within a project.  His teacher or you can help with the small step scheduling.  Learning how to break down large projects will help alleviate procrastination, and teach your child how to handle increasingly complicated planning.

The three areas of skill above are essential foundational skills for your child to become more organized.  To learn more about tools for directly teaching your child these organization skills, check out “Organization Information and Tools for the Disorganized Child.”

The example goals listed in the section on the bottom half of this page will help you understand more about how organization skills are taught and learned. 

Organizational skills CAN be taught, but they require you or your child’s teacher to give your child specific, step-by-step instructions, each and every day, day after day, until the process becomes natural to your child.

Your child won’t miraculously be able to track his homework or self-correct errors he’s over-looked in his work. Part of having an executive functioning deficit involves NOT being able to figure out how to do things correctly by simply picking up on what others do,  therefore your child will have to be taught the skills directly.

As another skill example, for a child who easily overlooks spelling errors, it can be helpful to implement a self-correction spelling method. The process requires adult assistance, but self-correction is proven to be one of the best methods for helping a child learn to self-correct spelling errors.

The goals below are measures of organization, but it would have to be understood that these goals won’t miraculously be met without direct teaching of organization skills. For some reason, organization skills, even when goals are included in an IEP are overlooked in the teaching portion of the day.

You can set goals for reading, writing, spelling, etc., and everyone clearly sees a child needs to be TAUGHT, but people assume a child will “just pick up” on the organization skills. He won’t. Your child needs direct instruction in organization both at home and at school in order to learn how to organize his school work.

You can use the example IEP organizational goals listed below as a template for developing appropriate goals for your child.

Here are some example, MEASURABLE ANNUAL GOALS:

Given indicators of executive functioning disorder, [Child's name] will improve in at least two of the following executive functioning disorder indicators to the central average score: WISC III Distractibility Index – 100 – (currently 87), WISC III Processing Speed – 100 – (currently 88), WISC III Digit Span – Stanine 10 – (currently 7), WISC III Coding – Stanine 10 – (currently 7).

Each of the following skills must be tracked on paper or in a computer program in order for you to know whether your child is meeting the goals set. Schools often set goals and then don’t ACTUALLY track them.  They’ll tell you your child is making progress at the next IEP meeting, but you should be able to say, “Show me the data,” and they should have some.

Given typical classroom assignments, [Child’s Name] will self-initiate editing activities to correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar on all assignments in all settings
· 7 out of 10 times by November
· 8 out of 10 times by January
· 9 out of 10 times by March

Given typical classroom assignments, [Child’s Name] will self-edit his work to correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar on all assignments in all settings to eliminate all errors from his work
· 7 out of 10 times by November
· 8 out of 10 times by January
· 9 out of 10 times by March


[Child’s Name] will develop the ability to attend to individual tasks and will improve processing speed through the use of timers and cuing utilized with the entire class in the general classroom.

[Child’s Name] will improve organization skills for classroom work and homework through specific, repetitive instruction, and use of:
· personal daily checklist
· binder / notebook with labeled sections for each subject
· homework folder with pocket dividers inserted in main binder / notebook

Given a proven cognitive enhancement program addressing deficits in processing speed, short-term working memory, attention to detail, monitoring, sequencing and organization skills, [Child’s Name] will successfully complete 12 or more weeks of the program with instruction, for at least 1 hour per day, to alleviate affects of executive functioning disorder deficits.

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