1. When giving verbal instructions or directions, make certain you have the child's attention.
  2. Eliminate noise sources and visual distractions whenever possible.

    Provide preferential classroom seating, away from heavy traffic areas.

    Consider sound-attenuating ear muffs or ear plugs to help the child deal with noisy areas such as the cafeteria. Ear- plugs may also be beneficial when doing homework or working individually at a desk.

    Be sensitive to the noise level in a car with windows open and a radio playing. Do not give important verbal information in this situation.

    Homework should be done in a quiet room. Turn off the T.V. and stereo.

  3. When talking to the child, use familiar language. Do not use long words when short words will do. Also, use short sentences with only one idea at a time.
  4. Structure activities to avoid confusion. The formation of daily routines and schedules will help the child to achieve some measure of success--something every child needs to maintain self-esteem.
  5. Periodic feedback from the child will give the parent/teacher and the child the opportunity to monitor what has been heard. it is better to train the child to routinely rephrase than to regularly ask if he/she understands. For the child with an auditory memory problem, there is often no realization that he/she is missing information.
  6. Encourage older children to use a tape recorder. Instructions or directions can then be played back for review and reinforcement.
  7. The older child should learn to carry a note pad for homework assignments and other reminders. Learning to make lists and checking items which have been completed is a good beginning to self-organization.
  8. Teaching, or the delivery of instructions or directions, should use more than one sensory modality, whenever possible. Verbal information can be reinforced with the addition of written instructions, modeling the activity, gestures, etc.
  9. Teaching should proceed from what is known and familiar to what is novel and new. This will help to build confidence and insure success.
  10. Break new information into small steps. Be generous with praise—and specific about what behaviors are being praised-- for each accomplishment.
  11. Interweave difficult activities with those with which the child has had success. Find some things the child does well, and give him/her some regular time to do them. Do not ever withhold these activities as a punishment. Success in non-academic activities is still success.
  12. Be creative in developing new materials and activities to develop and train specific skills. For example, auditory memory training can be accomplished using focusing, listening with visual cues and retelling using those visual cues, games which involve repetition. Each of these will seem like a new activity to the child. It is very important to maintain interest and motivation. The keys to learning are fun and a sense of success.



Organizing and keeping up with a schedule is difficult for children and adults. We seem to think we can accomplish all we need to do in just a few minutes after spending time on the phone, in front of the T.V., etc.... Children and adolescents tend to underestimate the time it will take to get chores and homework completed. By helping children and adolescents learn to become organized, we are teaching them functional skills they will use throughout their lives.

A few simple possessions can help the child become better organized.

  1. Instruct each child to keep a calendar/assignment book. Daily events and assignments should be recorded immediately. Instruct the child to check off completed items.
  2. Instruct each child to carry a billfold, The billfold should contain his address and telephone number as well as numbers of significant others who can be contacted in case of emergency. Several quarters to be used to make emergency phone calls should be kept in the billfold at all times.
  3. Place magnets for notes on the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror, etc. These can be used to hold brief messages and reminders of times and dates of activities, Telephone messages can be placed on the refrigerator and then no one forgets to tell Mom or Dad who called.
  4. Place the child's own key on a string and place a special hook in his room on which he can hang it.
  5. Compartmentalized or divided drawers are good for faster retrieving of articles needed for school in the morning.
  6. Instruct the child to organize schoolwork and completed work sheets by filing them in subject folders, Homework to be completed each day can be filed in a "Homework" folder. If there is no homework, this should also be recorded and the child needs to be made responsible for checking daily.
  7. Teach the child to prioritize activities, homework assignments, steps involved in big projects.
  8. Encourage the child to become independent. This includes teaching and allowing him to travel and shop for clothing alone as well as to be aware of his own goals.
  9. When the child brings home a notice from or to school, have him read it and summarize the contents to the parent or teacher. This way, he will be reminded of the contents. Allow the child to fill out the identification information on forms.
  10. If the child needs a new part for his bicycle, a new book bag, etc., help him to learn how to look up where he can purchase it in the Yellow Pages.
  11. Allow the child to plan meals or plan what to order in restaurants. Try collecting menus from local take-out restaurants.
  12. Keep local street maps handy and help the child use them to find the fastest route to where they want to go, Ask the child to write out the directions that tell someone how to get to his house.
  13. Provide opportunities for the child to read and follow instruction manuals, These can be found on the back of cookie mixes, board games, following a sewing pattern, assembling a model, washing instructions, etc. All can turn into a disaster if instructions are not followed correctly. Have the child read the instructions for each step as they go along with clarification from you of any words or processes they do not understand. Children's cookbooks are excellent sources of simple instructions.
  14. Increase the child's attention to and understanding of signs in the environment. A fun game is to encourage the child to collect amusing, confusing, or misspelled signs. Look for amusing names on restaurants and shops. Allow the child to make signs to put on his door, etc...
  15. Encourage list making so that nothing is forgotten, while providing experience in organizing and recording information, Try giving the child the grocery list and letting him purchase the item. Be specific about sizes and brand names. Instruct him to pay attention to the amount of money he has to spend.
  16. If a child earns money or receives an allowance, encourage him to open a savings account, The child will eventually learn the value of and the ability to handle his own finances.
  17. Encourage the child to record birthdays of friends and family members. At the beginning of each month, remind him to see if he needs to purchase gifts/cards and help him do so.


  1. Listen for important words that tell you what to do. Examples include: read, study, draw, listen, decide, center, write, remember, do, circle, upper, tell, left, underline, fill-in, choose.
  2. Listen for numbers. Numbers tell you what pages to read, how many problems to solve, how many pages to make a report.
  3. Listen for words that the teacher emphasizes or says louder. These are often important direction following words.
  4. Here's a trick to help the student remember more than one direction at a time. Write numbers and special marks, like L, on worksheets to match what the teacher says. These will help the student remember what to do when the teacher is finished giving directions.
  5. Have the child picture the directions he hears in his mind.
  6. Have the student write notes about the directions he hears.
  7. Have the child illustrate the directions he hears.
  8. Ask the child to repeat the directions to himself a few times. Repetition gives the child more chances to remember what is heard.
  9. Instruct the child to ALWAYS write the directions down.