It’s Murphy’s Law: Whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Students with ADHD, dyslexia, executive function impairments, and other learning differences know this adage all too well. Problems with planning, productivity, initiation, organization, and time management—coupled with a frequent reliance on the adrenaline provided by last-minute deadlines—seldom leave any margin of safety when it comes to completing projects, making it to meetings, managing a budget, or tackling assignments. The solution? Help students build a life system that can withstand unexpected workloads and challenges.

If your child never arrives anywhere on time or forgets appointments, encourage them to start the habit of leaving early and bringing a book or mobile device to pass the time while waiting. Advise them to schedule appointments for 15 minutes before they actually begin and to program two reminders for each appointment into their phone or laptop. This strategy works for assignments, too. When planning timelines for project completion, students should add a cushion of time to each project milestone as insurance against textbooks left in lockers and variable library hours. When working on group projects, simply assume that contributions from other members will arrive late.

Students who have difficulty managing their money can make arrangements to have a portion of funds moved into a savings/overdraft account with each paycheck in order to create a protection against unexpected expenses or cheques that were never recorded. Those who easily lose track of time should begin their day focused on the most important task at hand to avoid losing focus or running into conflicts.

By giving themselves room to falter and prepare for unforeseen problems or uncertainty, even students with learning differences can thrive. At Evoke Learning, our coaches and tutors work with students to identify strategies and tools that help them overcome impediments in initiation, organization, time management, processing speed, working memory, and focus, and help reduce stress and anxiety. Contact us to learn more.