Many parents of children with special needs are all too familiar with their children coming home from school without their jumpers, pencil cases or homework. Poor organisational skills are often the cause. Here are six steps parents can take to help their children be organised.
1. Use colour coding
Assign a colour to each subject. Then, cover or mark all books, copies and folders for that subject with that colour. Therefore, if you pick blue for English, either cover the books with blue covers or put blue labels on each book. Add blue labels to English copies and folders for handouts. If your child uses a timetable or schedule for classes, highlight the English classes in blue.
2. Use a clear pencil case
Get a clear pencil case for your child. It is easier for children to find what they need with a clear pencil case. If you can, get two clear pencil cases so your child has one for school and one for home. If they leave their pencil case at school, they are less likely to lose anything.
3. Record homework
Things are a bit hectic toward the end of a class or school day. This makes it harder for students with special needs to write down their homework. Ask your child’s school if he/she can use a smart phone or recording device to record homework assignments.
4. Get a homework buddy
If your child has a close friend in the same class, see if that friend will act as a homework buddy. If not, find a parent to call if your child forgets what his homework is or forgets to bring a book home.
5. Establish before- and after-school routines
With your child, make a list of the things he/she needs to do before and after school. Then turn the list into checklists for the morning and evening. On the checklist, write each task separately and include a picture if your child thinks it would help.
Some tasks to include are packing school bags the night before school, charging tablets, phones and/or laptops at night, double-checking school bags in the morning, and getting uniforms or clothes ready the night before school.
6. Make sure your child has a place for everything
Your child needs a place to put his/her school-related things. Set up a study area for your child to use for homework; a desk with drawers is ideal. If you do not have a desk, use a basket or plastic container that you take out at homework time. The study area should include a notice board for your child’s before- and after-school routines and class schedule. Keep the extra pencil case and other school supplies here, as well as folders for handouts or worksheets.    
Special Education Advocate