I have ADD. Have I said this before? If I did, I do not remember, it’s my ADD. Anyway, I am confused with what week it is. I like to blame my confusion on my flexible schedule however, if I am completely honest, it has always been this way for me. Even when I am looking at my calendar I get confused. This week, next week and the week after, lose their meaning because I am not looking in the right place.
I have begun marking the week with a large paper clip attached ribbon (the visual catches my eye). Now, when I glance at my calendar I know exactly what week it is and how to set my priorities. This makes planning so much easier and more accurate. This simple act started me thinking about the children with ADD/ADHD. The leap-frogging ADD brain in action!
Children and adults with ADD/ADHD work best when what they need to do is interesting to them, urgent and time bound. Sometimes the interest alone is not enough to get us down to work, produce something and complete it.
As an educator and advocate, I have often been involved in IEP/504 conversations about the use of a calendar to support students. Making sure the student is using a calendar, entering the due dates for projects, setting up partial due dates, color-coding by subject, even having the calendar signed by the parent and the teacher are all great ideas, yet they rarely have a huge Impact.
Putting an activity or obligation on the calendar without a visual starting date does not create the sense of time and urgency that drives the ADD/ADHD brain. The passage of time is something we do not pay attention to.
The one thing we never discussed is marking on the calendar the CURRENT WEEK and DAY the assignment is given in relation to the DUE DATE/COMPLETION DATE which is different from the TURN IN DATE.
Notice I am using the phrase TURN IN DATE as the final date to be noted on the calendar I have made this change for two reasons. 1)The assignment needs to be COMPLETED prior to the TURN IN DATE. 2) Turning in the assignment is the Final Step in the process.
This is a deliberate change on my part because of the overwhelming need for children to TURN IN their work. I will write more about this loss of executive functioning skills at a future time. For now, this is about setting up and having your child utilize their calendar.
4 Step Visual Planning Calendar:
1. START DATE is the day the assignment is given
2. Partial Project completion dates (on their IEP/504 or created by you at home)
3. DUE DATE/COMPLETION DATE for the day the work needs to be finished
4. TURN IN DATE (should be seen over and over again) is the day the work is to be handed in!
These small visual touchpoints serve to support the development of needed executive functioning skills while continuing to reinforce the time/urgency aspect of getting things done that is needed by your child.
If at all possible, make 2 versions of the calendar. One for your student to have with them and another large one that is easily referred to at home. It should be in a central place where a quick visual scan, along with changes, can be done easily.
Sometimes it is the smallest change that can have the biggest impact.
Do you have a question or need? Reach out! I would love to answer your questions and in doing so, I often get my best ideas on how to help so many others. Share your concern today and let’s get to problem solving!