Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Does My Child Have an Organizational Style???

The simple answer to this is YES!  We all have organizational styles.  In How to Get Organized Without Resorting to Arson, Liz Franklin uses "access styles" to help determine organizational styles.  Access styles describe how people access (or retrieve) stored information and how people organize their thoughts (Organizing the Disorganized Child, Kutscher & Moran).  A person's style influences how he/she form habits, categorize items, and then finds the items.  There are three basic styles of organization:

Visual:  people who exhibit this style generally try to think of missing items in the last place they SAW the item; having the item visible is a must (out of sight out of mind); prefer colors as a tool to support their organization and do not like cluttered areas (visually cluttered=overload)

Spatial:  people who exhibit this style try to find things in relation to the last place they USED the item; typically they like their supplies within reach when they are working on something; a cleaned off area is a must as they want a space that "feels good" when they begin work

Sequential:  people who exhibit this style try to find items in relation to the last time they HAD the item; usually think "numbers" and remembers things in terms of dates or times of events; their space may look messy but they can find things easily as there is a certain order to the piles; they are detailed people and do not like their work area "straightened up" by others.

Can you recognize your child's learning style?  What about your own?  Do you or your child have more than one style?  This short questionnaire (Organizing the Disorganized Child, Kutscher & Moran) may help you if you don't know.

  • When your child is looking for his backpack, he asks you
    • Did you see my backpack?
    • Do you know where I put my backpack?
    • Do you know when I last had my backpack?
  • When your child is doing her homework, she
    • put all the items she will need for the homework out in front of her
    • clears off the area before she does her homework
    • stacks her homework assignments in a certain order before or after completing the assignment
  • Your child responds best to a teacher who
    • writes notes on the board
    • makes her feel good about herself
    • runs a very structured and orderly class
  • When your child is invited to a party, he
    • decided how much fun he thinks the party will be based on the design of the invitation
    • thinks about what he will do at the party
    • wonders how long the party will be
  • You have noticed that your child likes to
    • look at pictures
    • build with blocks or Legos
    • play with electronic devices
  • When your child returns from a play date, he
    • describes what his friend's house looks like
    • describes how he felt at the play date
    • describes detailed events of the play date in the order in which they happened
  • Would your child rather go to a
    • movie
    • physical activity such as soccer, gymnastics, or dance
    • computer trade show
  • When picking out a book from the library, your child looks for
    • the book with the nicest cover
    • a title that he feels good about
    • a book about history or a biography
If you selected, mostly, the first response for each question, your child is most likely a visual organizer.  If you selected mostly second bullet responses, your child leans toward being a spatial organizer.  Finally, if you selected mostly third bullets, this child tends to be a sequential organizer.

Your child's primary organizational style (yes, he/she may have two), will largely support his/her organizational techniques.

Kutscher & Moran.  Organizing the Disorganized Child:  Simple Strategies to Succeed in School.  New York.  HarperCollins. 2009.  Print

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