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Helping Kids who are Late, Lost and Unprepared: Supporting the Development of Organizational Skills

Joyce Cooper-Kahn, Ph.D.
January 26, 2018, 9:00 am - 12:15 pm
Loyola University Maryland Graduate Center in Columbia
3 CEs, $85/MPA/MSPA members, $135/Non-members

Workshop Instructional Level:Intermediate. This workshop is intended for psychologists who have a working knowledge of ADHD and executive functioning.

There is no potential conflict of interest and/or commercial support for this program or its presenter. The workshop leader may benefit if sales of books authored arise from the presentation.

Children and teens with ADHD and associated executive functioning weaknesses often have trouble meeting daily demands for organization. They are likely to have trouble organizing their "stuff," and just as importantly, they often struggle to organize the information in their own heads. At school, they may have trouble negotiating the world of deadlines and paperwork and they may have difficulty juggling multiple sources of information. At home, weaknesses in cognitive regulation may interfere with completion of chores, homework and other expectations.

These kids are very frustrating to parents and teachers, alike. Their behaviors are often misinterpreted as willful disregard for adult standards and launch a downward spiral of "crime" and punishment that is ineffective, however well-intentioned.

This workshop will focus on ways to support and facilitate development of organizational skills to foster more independent functioning in children and teens over time. Importantly, we will address the process of intervention, as well as the content. It is only by understanding the series of steps that lead to better functioning that we can move away from canned interventions and customize strategies to meet the needs of individual children and teens. With this understanding as a foundation, we will discuss ways to use the management of daily tasks to help children and teens with planning, task monitoring, working memory and initiating tasks. General guidelines and specific strategies for helping with each of these components of good organization will be presented.

While there is much that is still unknown about executive functioning and best ways to intervene, the presentation will focus on what is known and on proven strategies from across a variety of disciplines. The focus of the workshop will be on straightforward and pragmatic information. Participants will leave with an approach and with specific strategies that they can use with clients immediately. The material will be applicable to parent/family work and to school collaboration.

This workshop is designed to help you:

  1. Summarize the guidelines for the process of intervention for weak organizational skills;
  2. List at least 2 principles and 2 specific strategies for helping children and teens manage demands for planning;
  3. List at least 2 principles and 2 specific strategies for helping children and teens who have difficulty with working memory;
  4. List at least 2 guidelines and 2 specific strategies for helping children and teens who procrastinate.

Joyce Cooper-Kahn, Ph.D. is a clinical child psychologist with over 25 years of experience in helping children, families and schools manage the full range of developmental challenges. She has specific expertise in the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with executive functioning deficits. She is the co-author of two books on executive functioning: Late, Lost and Unprepared: A Parent's Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning, and Boosting Executive Skills in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Educators. She provides clinical services at Thinking Tree Psychology in Severna Park, MD, and is a frequent speaker both in the United States and abroad.