As we approach back to school time, and for anytime of the year really; it comes time to also help make sure that our kids are ready. Not just at school, but also at home. In fact, I would say that getting organized at home can be just as challenging as getting organized at school. This is especially true for parenting teenagers on the autism spectrum. Teenagers, in general, have difficulty it seems with organization. I know it was never really my strong point when I was younger.
Organization Tips for Students to Use at School
When it comes to helping your teenager stay organized at school, here are a few suggestions. You can talk to your teens teachers or have this worked into your teen’s IEP or 504 plan.
- Color code academic materials (if they aren’t already color coded)
- Put up steps for your teenagers routine
- Try using a folder system to help with the paper trail (example: homework to do, completed homework
- Ask for a little bit of time to clean up before or after class
- Use a master calendar in your teen’s locker
- Analog clocks help with seeing better segments of time
- Break down longer projects into more manageable tasks
Pencil boxes or pencil bags could help as well. Just remember that your teenager on the autism spectrum, still struggles with executive functioning and sensory regulation. Make sure that they are also able to access their calming strategies and take sensory breaks when needed.
Organization Tips to Use at Home
Now, we also want our teenagers to be organized at home. Whether this means having them help out with chores or just having their own rooms organized; here’s a few suggestions:
- Just as they color code subjects, having them categorize school materials.
- Separate their projects by subject and then by length (short term vs. long term)
- Provide shelves and a bulletin board
- Use a supply cabinet for extra school supplies
- Have an extra set of textbooks at home (this can be written into your child’s IEP)
- Prepare for the next day with a school station
- Use Post-It Notes for reminders
- Use a daily planner
These tips may seem advanced or they may seem a bit too simple, depending on your teenagers age. Adapt these as needed and come up with more complex solutions with your teenager’s input. That’s just the other thing: your child knows their limits. Sometimes they may not be able to express that properly. But you can still get their input and help.
In fact, you should.
Involving your teenager in coming up with strategies and solutions, increases their independence.
Give them the tools they need to succeed in life and they will.
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