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How to Teach Organizational Skills to Your Gifted Child Dr. Agnes Meyo, Psychologist 314 -780 -3621
Outline What Factors Must Be Considered? What Myths Exist Regarding the Organizational Skills of the Gifted? What Can We Do to Increase the Organizational Skills of the Gifted? Summary
What Factors Must Be Considered? Genetics Time limitations Motivational level Neurological involvement (e. g. hyperactivity, impulsivity)
Myths Here are some myths about increasing the organizational skills of the gifted.
Myth: The gifted are born organized. Actually, organizational skills are learned. . . not just tasks that develop with time. Someone must teach the gifted to organize their rooms, supplies, and bodies.
Myth: Schools assume responsibility for teaching these skills. Hardly! Actually, teachers often expect these skills to be learned at home. By middle school, everyone thinks the gifted will automatically organize themselves.
Myth: Organization is easy to maintain in a disorganized place. No! Our darlings need an organized room and home if we expect them to be organized. The gifted tend to “do as we do, not as we say. ”
Myth: Spontaneity is desirable for optimal time management. Definite potential for failure! Most of the gifted want choice regarding activities. Unfortunately, they may never “choose” to do homework. Routines, lists and schedules work best.
Myth: Technology is just a crutch. On the contrary, technological devices help increase, interest, and motivation to complete schoolwork.
Myth: Sleep and diet are secondary. Believe it or not, these factors may completely make or break an organizational routine. Too little sleep, too much sugar, inconsistent sleep, too many carbs, etc. affect academic performance.
Myth: Periodic organizational efforts can maintain the skills. Nope! The memory of an organized life fades if not reinforced. Regular parental help with reorganization is necessary until the gifted can do it on their own.
Myth: Socialization is not a factor in organizational skill development. Maybe they seem unrelated, but peer behaviors strongly impact the gifted. If their friends don’t clean up, do homework, keep planners, etc. the gifted are also less likely to keep organized.
What Can We Do To Increase the Organizational Skills of the Gifted?
1. Teach Planning Skills Prioritize activities (school, home, social. ) Buy one planner (paper or technology. ) Block off time on planner for all activities. Break big tasks into smaller time blocks. Verbalize plans for the day/week/month. Schedule blocks for studying, cleaning, etc.
2. Obtain Supplies Buy clear storage tubs of all sizes. Set up file folder tub for school, sports, music, etc. paperwork. Stock up on fidget toys, music, snacks. Secure extra set of textbooks/supplies. Color code supplies for each class. Label tubs for toys, books, clothes.
3. De-clutter the Environment Clean the house/throw away excess. Create a quiet study area. Designate specific places for supplies. Provide easy access to materials. Straighten up room prior to leaving. Put away supplies in designated areas.
4. Create Reminders Develop consistent routine for reorganizing. Inspect school papers, planner, and homework daily. Review contents of room, backpack, and long-term projects weekly. Use sticky notes for temporary reminders. Keep timers/alarms for daily reminders. Maintain large family calendar in kitchen.
5. Shower Praise Send a short “thank you” email/note. Indicate that progress was noticed. Administer weekly/daily earned rewards. Role-model desired behavior. Decrease assistance and increase praise as autonomy develops.
Summary To help with organizational skills, set realistic expectations. Many myths exist about the ability of the gifted to organize. Five suggestions can increase the organizational skills of the gifted. 1. Teach planning skills 2. Obtain supplies 3. De-clutter the environment 4. Create reminders 5. Shower with praise.