2004 Conference Proceedings

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Sue Bohmer
Program Manager for Assistive Technology Dallas ISD
912 S. Ervay
Dallas, Texas 75201
Phone: 972-581-4168
FAX: 972-581-4507
Email: mbohmer@dallasisd.org

Joyce Thomas
AT Specialist
912 S. Ervay
Dallas, Texas 75201
Phone: 972-581-4254
FAX: 972-581-4507
Email: jothomas@dallasisd.org

Learning Disabled students are often very disorganized. They may be able to do the work in a general educational setting, but they lose their homework and have a locker full of papers that either were not taken home or were not turned in to the teacher. They can't seem to get to class on time with the supplies and homework needed. It may take them 10 minutes to get ready for class with all of the necessary supplies once they get there. Backpacks and lockers are full of "stuff" that is in no order and is lost.

The focus of this session is to create and follow the rules of organization:

  1. Have a plan
  2. Practice the plan
  3. Implement the plan
  4. Monitor the plan

An individual plan must be selected for each student. The plan will include organization of workspaces at home and at school, routes between classes, and time scheduling. The student, parent, and teachers should be involved in the plan process. Once the plan is selected, parents, teachers, and the student must practice using it. The student will need monitoring until the plan becomes habit. Then occasional monitoring will be necessary to insure continuation of the plan.

The plan will include a variety of assistive devices ranging from low to high tech depending on the individual needs of the student. These devices are intended to get the participant thinking of solutions and are by no means exclusive. They include examples of the following:

A variety of calendars that show days, weeks, months, and the entire year can be used in different ways to insure that the student stays on task. Calendars on electronic organizers, computers, and handheld devices can be used as well as alarms for reminders.

A wide variety of paper organizers are available as well as space organizers. Expanding files, mobile files, notebooks, backpacks, locker organizers, and workspace organizers are available and can be used in many ways to provide organization to meet individual students needs.

Organization through the use of technology is important. Portable word processors, the DANA, the HomeworkWiz, computers, and handheld devices play an important role in organization, especially for the secondary student. There are several software programs that can be loaded onto computers and handheld devices that create checklists and reminders for students.

Many times the route between classes, going to lockers and the restroom, and just getting to the right place at the right time is difficult for LD students. Having a plan that addresses the route to take, when to go to the locker, and when to make restroom stops between classes will help the student get to class on time with the supplies needed.

The space at home where a student studies is also very important. There are many ways to organize the space to facilitate organization of homework and special projects. Devices that fold out, hang from the wall, or expand are available. Pictures of good workspaces that can be made by the parent or student from very inexpensive to more expensive areas are available.

Time scheduling is extremely important. Students need to learn how to organize their time in order to accomplish their goals. Planning and scheduling time blocks will help the students to form time habits that they will use throughout life.

It is our hope that by providing plans and tools for our LD students, they will be even more successful in school. This will reduce frustration for the student, the parents, and the teachers so that more time can be focused on educational goals.

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