How do I help my teenager with being ... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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How do I help my teenager with being more organized?


I have a 14 yr old son who is having major trouble in school and is currently failing. His problem is not turning in his classwork at all. He just currently got an IEP for school, but he is still having issues with tirning in work on time. Any suggestions? Is there an app to help remind him? Should I have his IEP amended to ensure that he is directed to turn in completed homework at the end of class?

19 Replies

What subtype of ADHD does your son have? I myself have Inattentive ADHD and those early teenage years can be really rough for adolescents with ADHD, especially Inattentive ADHD. People with ADHD lack multiple neurotransmitters, and the ones I mention below I believe are of the most crucial importance. When you have a low level of a neurotransmitter, it basically gives you major difficulty in the areas that it would otherwise be helping you out in.

I highly recommend supplements for your son. A strategy plan when it comes to supplements and ADHD, should include aiming to help the brain with the specific neurotransmitters that give us the most trouble. The following neurotransmitters should be addressed.

Dopamine : A neurotransmitter in the brain that affects your levels of concentration, motivation, pleasure senses, and sense of pain.

Norepinephrine : A neurotransmitter and stress hormone that deals with attentiveness, emotions, impulse control, planning ahead, sleep, and interpreting actions of others.

Serotonin : A neurotransmitter that deals with mood regulation, sleep, nervousness, empathy, appetite, digestion, and sexual urges.

Acetylcholine : A neurotransmitter that deals with muscle contraction, pain responses, mood regulation, REM sleep, and coordination.

The supplement N-Acetyl Tyrosine is a great and helpful supplement for ADHD, and would be ideal for your son, since that supplement helps the brain with Dopamine and Norepinephrine, and thus helps better with planning, organizing, concentrating, and having motivation. The supplement PS100 is also ideal for someone with ADHD, due to it being really helpful for recall and helping improve short term memory, which is a common symptom of ADHD. Theres a link on my profile page of a google doc I made of every supplement I take including those mentioned above. It mentions what grocery stores and online stores (Amazon has all of these supplements a lot cheaper than markets like Sprouts and Whole Foods) sell these supplements, and some information about each of the supplements and how they help out people with ADHD, in case you're interested. Supplements have greatly helped me out, and have also done wonders for some families and individuals I've worked with. I'm finishing up grad school and will be going on to obtain my PhD. as a Clinical Psychologist (supplements, along with my medication have been a tremendous help).

Thank you for your valuable information.

Any chance you live near San Francisco? We need a physologist for our son to talk to since we are having some anger issues on top of the others.

virgy in reply to virgy

I meant « Psychologist «

Hi you're very welcome, and unfortunately no, I'm in a different area. For issues with anger/irritation and mood, I would highly recommend the supplements L-Tryptophan and R-Alpha Lipoic acid. L-Tryptophan works with the neurotransmitter Serotonin, which deals with mood, and R-Alpha Lipoic acid works with Acetylcholine which also deals with mood, and helps relax the body. Those two supplements combined are really helpful in helping people with ADHD feel more calm, relaxed, and focused. Part of the reason why anger and an impulsive nature are commonly present in people with ADHD has to do with those neurotransmitters being low.

L-Tryptophan gummies is ok? What daily dose is ok for 90lb child ?

Yes, gummy versions are fine. I recommend to look for gummy supplements meant for children.

Momrocket in reply to virgy

I second the vote for l-tyrosine! Works wonders for my inattention and lack of organization. Mensah Medical helps us a ton with mental health issues and they come to Burlingame once every 6 months.

Can these be taken with ADHD meds?

Absolutely. They help fight off many side effects from stimulant medication, help stimulant medication work to its full potential, and help the brain with those other neurotransmitters that are low in people with ADHD. Stimulant medication usually only helps with dopamine and Norepinephrine, those other neurotransmitters I mentioned in my post need to be addressed.

Hello, what do you think about Choline? Did you do any research on Choline ?

I used to take a multivitamin that had it, other than that I have not really encountered it

Maybe you can try doing body double i think it’s called. Ex: every evening at this time, last say after dinner or after there favorite show they watch everyday that’s their’s and your’s cue that the two of you need to both be in let’s say the family room is were he studies and completes his homework. Your job is just to be present in the room. Let him do what he needs to done, let’s say get all his papers together and put in his folder and in his bag for the next day, he needs to make sure he’s got everything and let’s say he has to complete something before he can put it in the finished folder and in the bag but he’s stumped on something and that’s where he can tell you what’s up and then you can help him though it and then he’s finished it so now that goes in the folder and in the bag. When he is all done he’s going to feel good it’s completed and when this becomes your routine for you and him he’s going to get better at it and may after 3 months he won’t need you there. I don’t know if this is an acountablity thing or what but it does help me start and finish things I don’t like doing and avoid doing because it feels overwhelming, I’m a scatter brain and I forgot can’t complete stuff and then end up avoiding it because i can’t seem to get it right. With you in the room near by it feels for me good knowing someone is here to help me if I’m overwhelmed

Hi Trinidee, my 11 y.o. has the same difficulty. We will complete a science or other major project together that is very time consuming. He will forget to turn it in despite numerous reminders. He also completes homework but then forgets to turn it in and does not get credit or gets a lower grade. I have addressed this with the IEP team and I was told the teachers would help remind him to turn work in. I'm not sure that is being done. We just have to constantly remind them. Place the work in a folder labeled "Homework to turn in" There are also "Boomerang" folders that you can use.

One other thought is he may not be turning it in because he is struggling with the work.

I totally hear you my problem is I am also disorganized and so its hard for me to help my daughter with it Just Hugs and understanding here

Let me know what you ended trying to do to help him along and tell me how it’s going. Alone the way as you post your progress and road blocks, there is so many great people on this sight who do want to help.


Same here, you are not alone. I've tried putting a sticky in her binder, on her binder, on the spine of her binder, on the outside of her back pack, in her lunch, on the outside of her lunch. I have requested that in her IEP they specifically ask her about her homework the day it is due and I have also asked for an aide during what is known as Homework club. She has this twice a week, one of the days is Monday. My idea is that she can look at what's coming up for the week, get it written down in her Agenda and they can help her with organizational skills. The meeting is Wednesday morning and the team is great so I'm looking forward to seeing what they say! Good luck!

I will share what we do, because after a battle of doing homework, sometimes tears and meltdowns, my son was still getting F for not turning it in .

- I do take pic of his homework and email it to the teacher with a kind note that there is a chance he will forget to turn it in

- in his IEP he has a 1 day allowance for late jobs

-in his IEP there in an instruction “ask for his red homework folder”. So, I make sure he puts it in in the evening, he either turns it in, teacher has pictures and asks for his folder.

I am pretty new to all of this, so I’m not sure how much help I can be, but I would definitely have his IEP altered if you think it will help. I also read about a watch that helps remind kids. I saw an article in ADD-magazine about the guy who invented it made it to help his son with ADD. I think was the website. Not sure if it would help or how pricy it is, but thought I would mention it incase it was something that could help your son. Good luck!

Here is one thing that helps my 14 year old son (we've been doing it since middle school). We set up his binder so that there is one section for every subject and they are in the order that he has the classes (1st period is first, etc.). The dividers we use have pockets on both sides (I found them on Amazon, made by Avery). He keeps papers that he receives during class or is still working on in the pocket for that subject (could be homework or classwork). The older papers get inserted into the binder rings for that subject in reverse chronological order (most recent on top), as that makes it easier. On the weekend we try to go through the pockets and make sure that everything got turned in. We also use this time to move papers from the pockets onto the binder rings, if it hasn't already been done. Every month or so, we take the oldest papers out, usually they are for a unit that has already been completed. We clip them together and put them in a different binder that stays home, in case we ever need them. This reduces the volume of papers in the binder, which can become an issue otherwise. It's all very visual, so not as much to "remember". I wouldn't be surprised if they help your son do something similar -- you said he has an IEP -- once he starts working with a "resource specialist". My son does not have an IEP, so I help him stay on top of things, and coach him to eventually take over himself. Since your son has not been keeping up, it may take a little while for a new system to start working. Hopefully he will start a new semester in January and will be able to start fresh, in a sense. Best wishes to you and your son!!!

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