Getting Organized With LD Students

Posted by Elizabeth McDuffie

Getting Organized with Learning Disabled Students

Organizational skills are essential for all of us. To some they come naturally, but to the Learning Disabled student, organization often needs to be taught explicitly and reinforced by teacher through instruction, repetition and modeling. Many LD students do not demonstrate their full potential for simple reasons, lost papers, assignments that are illegible, crumpled or dirty work. It is therefore vital to teach organizational skills so that all students hand in work they feel proud of.

The following tips are designed to help your LD students get organized to ensure academic success.

• Make and Use Calendar. Teach students to track a day, week, or unit of study using a calendar as a visual aid. Post due dates, projects, assignments, and exams as well as anything else of importance.

• Follow a Daily Agenda. In conjunction with the calendar, use a daily agenda to break down and sequence activities throughout the day.

• Use Organizers in a Variety of Formats. When giving an activity, demonstrate the steps of the project with visual organizers, charts, diagrams, and oral cues.

• Post It. (Yet another good use of post it notes.) When giving a student a specific assignment, post it in their book or notebook so that the student remembers immidiatly what to do when they return to the task. For example, post questions to reading assignments or steps to solve math problems.

• Date and Title Assignments. Teach students to label their work to keep it neat and organized.

• Put it Where it Belongs. LD students have a tendency to loose and misplace their work and other items frequently. Help them by assigning a specific place for things and frequently remind them to use the designated place to put things away.

• Use a Clearly Organized and Efficient Notebook. Introduce students to dividers, the hole punch, and various folders for loose papers. Three ringed binders are strongly recommended.

• Use Checklists to Track Activities. Provide checklists for students to check off tasks to multiple step assignments.

• Keep Time Using a Clock. Post specific times to begin end activities in your instruction. You may want to try using a play clock and moving the hands to the target finish time and set it near the working clock. This can help you and the students gauge time in a meaningful way.

I chose to write about LD students that struggle with organizational skills because it is something I was diagnosed with. Overtime, I overcame many of my organational issues with techniques I found through trail and error. By being conscious in my natural lack of organizational skills, making a deliberate attempt at getting organized has greatly improved my life. I hope these tips, as simple as they may seem, can help some of you students “get it together” in both school and everyday life.


R. F. Finstein, F. Y. Yang, R. Jones (2007) Building organizational skills in students with learning disabilities Intervention In School and Clinic Vol. 42, No.3