Messy Thinking?

Doesn’t it seem as though parents and children can look at a messy room and see the same thing differently?  In my mind, I am thinking to myself, “Why does this have to sit on the floor?  Doesn’t it bother you? How long does it take to just put it away or throw the clothes in the hamper?”  In the meantime, my son or daughter is probably thinking, “What difference does it make?  Why doesn’t she leave me alone?” If your child has a messy room yet is very organized for school and accomplishes all assignments, there probably is no need to be concerned.  You might like every room in the house to be tidy, but it can quickly become a power struggle that might not be worth it.  However, if the messy room is indicative of “messy thinking” and other issues involving organization, time management, and planning, it might be a sign of an overall problem with what is called executive functioning skills.  Remembering information, prioritizing tasks, beginning an assignment, and handing in homework on time can be challenging.


The “messy room” cartoon is an example of a kid not knowing where or how to begin to clean.  The parent expects it to be done but doesn’t explicitly show the child how to get organized.  If there are executive functioning issues, the child really needs the task to be broken down into manageable steps.  Don’t assume your child knows or can do it without demonstrating exactly what you mean when you say, “clean your room.”  Make a list of each task and “think aloud” as you show your child how to do it. If you tell him that each item must go back in the same place after using something, and everything should be put back by the end of the day, he will learn to maintain his space and know what to do. Again, a messy room without other difficulties is nothing more than a messy room.  For more information on learning and attention issues, visit the website, and go to the following link:

The website launched a campaign this month in honor of Dyslexia Awareness and other learning disabilities to enlighten parents and have children #BeUnderstood.

Faith Borkowsky, Owner and Lead Educational Consultant of High Five Literacy and Academic Coaching, is Orton-Gillingham trained and Wilson Certified, and has extensive training and experience in a number of other research-based, peer-reviewed programs that have produced positive gains for students with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, ADD/ADHD, and a host of learning difficulties.

High Five Literacy and Academic Coaching is located in Plainview, Long Island. Read about what we can offer you and your child:

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