“Mom, I forgot I need my social security number for something at school today.” “Mom!! I need dress clothes for my teaching program today or I will have points deducted.” “Mom!!!! I don't want to go to school today because I forgot to work on the assignment that is due!”
Sound familiar? These are all conversations I have had with my daughter in the last week. Well...to be fair...in the last three school days. It’s kind of appropriate when I think about it, considering the topics of conversation at Springer lately have been on the difficulties students with ADHD and/or learning disabilities experience with executive function. Isn’t that how Murphy's Law works? Or is it Karma? Maybe just ironic? Whatever the reason for the sudden influx of organizational “catastrophes” my daughter is experiencing and how that relates to what I do for a living, the frustrating and worrisome fact remains that she is still struggling well into her junior year of high school.
I hold no delusions in regard to my daughter’s difficulties with executive functioning and keeping organized. I know she has difficulties. She knows she has difficulties (though she is often reluctant to acknowledge them). Her teachers know that she has difficulties. However, as a parent, I sometimes feel helpless and directionless, even with resources right at my fingertips.
So what are we, as parents and caregivers, supposed to do to help our children who so often struggle on a daily basis with these executive functions associated with ADHD and learning disabilities? I actually consider myself lucky. I have a job where I am constantly in touch with some pretty amazing people who happen to be experts on the subject of ADHD and Executive Function. Springer’s very own Dr. Mary Ann Mulcahey recently presented virtually for parents and caregivers and shared her years of wisdom and advice on how to reinforce positive behaviors at home. Although her message contained information that I have heard or read about over the years, her presentation was full of not only “Oh’ yeah” moments but also some “Aha!” moments too.
A professional organizer and author, as well as a Springer alumni parent and a guest contributor to Springer workshops, Lisa Woodruff shares her advice in Attitude Magazine. Check out number 31 on their “how to” list to see her recommendation for getting organized. Understood.org is also a great site to visit for not only recommendations and advice, but also printable organizational resources to help us help our struggling children.
So what was my take-away from my “ironic” week of daughter induced chaos? It takes time, patience, and a whole lot of planning ahead (including a foresight of what could and probably will go wrong) in order to head off most potential “catastrophes,” and maybe a backup plan – or two, or three – here and there.
Blogger Lisa Bruns, M.Ed., Special Education, shares her expertise of students with learning disabilities. As a special educator, she has expert knowledge of interventions and accommodations that students may need to succeed in and out of the classroom. If you have questions, please contact Center Director Lisa Bruns at .