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The following pages are suggestions for various ways to help the child with co-ordination problems in the classroom.
Sometimes these children are easily distracted and need outside stimuli limiting. They may be poorly organised and need help to prepare themselves for work, or have a poor conception of where things are in relation to each other. The following suggestions are often easily put into action and make the classroom environment a friendlier place.
Classroom Furniture / Organisation
• Tables and chairs should be a suitable size.
• Chair size should allow ankles, knees and hips to be at right angles.
• Table height should allow forearms to rest on the writing surface without stooping or raising the shoulders. Tables and chairs can be adjusted with the use of a cushion or footstool. N.B. Not all children of the same age are of the same size and the furniture in a classroom should reflect this. Swop furniture between your groups to meet all children’s needs.
Remove clutter from the floor to make clear passages through the classroom.
• Place the child near the front of the classroom, facing the blackboard.
• Place the child’s coat peg and drawer at the end of the line so they can find it more easily.
• Colour code subject files.
• Use desk organisers for stationery.
• Minimise visual distractions in the classroom.
• Use yellow chalk on a clean blackboard.
• When sitting on the carpet for storytime, designate a space for the child. E.g. Use a carpet square, suggest he sits cross-legged and with arms folded.
• When lining up provide space markers on the floor, e.g. dots or lines of masking tape on the floor, one for each child.
Organisation of a task
• Help the child organise his desk, belongings and materials by providing a place for everything.
• Help the child identify the steps needed to begin and accomplish the task. Have the child repeat directions and, if possible, write down the steps.
• Ask the child questions of what he is going to do, and how he is going to do it.
• Encourage the child to verbalise what he is doing while carrying out the activities.
• Give a short assignment so that the child can feel success in completing a task.
• Set up a system for checking off steps as they are accomplished.
• Give one direction at a time. After an action in successfully completed add another direction.
• Minimise distractions. Check for clutter in the classroom.
• Do art projects or games that require assembling parts to create an object. This challenges the child’s ability to develop strategies for organising parts as they relate to the whole.
• Review how to play a game before actually playing it. Demonstrate verbally as well as visually.
• Rehearse what a child has learnt on a regular basis.
• At the end of the school day help the child see that he has everything needed for homework. The same can be done at home. Check lists of what the child needs could be complied.
• Daily schedules/routines at home and school for the child to follow are useful.
• Teach the child to be responsible for keeping his notebook organised and homework done by charting or rewarding when successful.
• A child often does not know what part of the task is confusing. Help the child to be able to be specific when asking for help. It may just be one word in the instruction that is confusing them and not the whole task.
• Teach time management techniques.