Organizational skills are difficult for most people, and even more difficult for children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Using a color-coded binder may help ADHD students organize their school papers and help them remember to turn in completed assignments. I have used the following binder system with my youngest son since 4thgrade. It has been helpful in helping him establish consistency when learning how to organize his school papers.
A dual or double zippered binder, which is essentially two binders in one, keeps paper work and school supplies in one place. One side can hold folders and school papers, and when flipped over the second side can hold three ring zippered pouches with school supplies like pencils, erasers, crayons, calculator, glue sticks and lunch or field trip money. In addiiton, I have fallen in love with the extreme durability polyvinyl folders provide and reuse the same folders several years in a row. I love recycling and saving money.
For my son’s personal homework binder I use a red, a green, and a blue folder. As someone with ADHD, I have found I am a visual person who responds well to colors, as do both of my children diagnosed with ADHD. First is a red folder. The red folder is to collect homework assignments. This includes any schoolwork not completed during class time. When my son was younger, I taped a red stop sign to the front of the red folder. The red colors are reminiscent of a stop sign and is a visual reminder for my son to S-T-O-P, and finish his schoolwork.
Next is a green folder, which is reminiscent of a green light and is a reminder to my son to GO turn in his homework. Only completed schoolwork goes into the green folder. My son is supposed to check the green folder and turn in any papers he finds in the green folder immediately upon arriving in his homeroom class. Green means go.
Finally, a blue folder is provided for all other school and home communication needs. This folder holds parent and teacher communications, school announcements, permission slips, and any graded homework for mom or dad to see. The student is responsible for bringing all papers to the parent and for moving homework from the red folder to the green folder.
The goal for using a color-coded folder or binder system is to help ADHD students to learn organizational skills for school. Organizational skills due not come naturally to children and must be learned in order to become a successful student. Without good organizational skills, school becomes a constant struggle and many ADD and ADHD students drop out of school because of frustration at their lack of organizational skills and the frustration of forgetting assignments or losing completed work.
According to the Journal of Attention Disorders, “adolescents with childhood ADHD, compared to their non-ADHD counterparts, are more likely to fail academic subjects” On average the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that “35% of teens with ADHD dropout of school before graduating”. Therefore, helping children, especially children with ADHD develop organizational skills early in his or her school career may help prevent ADHD students from dropping out of school due to frustration from poor grades, missed assignments, and feeling like academic failures.