Improving organizational skills


Eight boys and one girl (Grades 4-6) who were gifted and had learning disabilities


Deficiencies in organizational skills may interfere with the realization of intellectual potential, especially in gifted children with learning disabilities.

An individual home plan was developed for each student between the learning disabilities specialist and the parents. Each home plan included the following: schedule of student after school activities reflecting the normal family routine; activities that were identified by the parents as those with which the student has the greatest difficulty or caused disputes; consistency and regularity were stressed; ìtime-outî must replace any emotionally charged confrontations; parents must praise student daily when home plan is completed; must be treated as a contract; a daily household chore for the student; homework assignments scheduled in the same order as the studentís classes meet each day, and work on projects and studying for exams must follow completion of homework assignments. The specialist met with the students to explain the plan and what was expected of the student. The specialist received a completed home plan each Monday and telephoned parents to discuss weekly results. The specialist visited each home to aid in putting the plan into effect. Additional home visits were made to discuss effectiveness and reinforce the use of noncoercive disciplinary strategies. Data was collected for an additional six weeks following the intervention.


Prior to the intervention, baseline data was obtained using parent behavior checklists, student behavior checklists, the Connersí Teacher Rating Scale from science and language arts teachers, recent grades, and a tally of homework assignments not submitted to language arts and science teachers. Baseline to end-of intervention changes were significant for all areas. Baseline to end of study changes were significant for all areas except number of homework assignments not submitted. Although the sample was small, the research indicated that structuring home activities may be effective in improving the behaviors of gifted children with learning disabilities who exhibit organizational deficits. The results also indicated that decreases in problem behaviors at home and school, and achievement gains may be improved with a structured home plan.


Sah, A. & Borland, J.H. (1989). The effects of a structured home plan on the home and school behaviors of gifted learning-disabled students with deficits in organizational skills. Roeper Review, 12, 54-57.


Susan M. Hubley, ETSU