Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More on Cleaning Up

Once again when I dropped my son off back at his dorm, I could not help but notice that his room was in a state. Cleaning his room at home was something for which I finally learned he needed instructions and I posted a list on his closet. In fairness, I posted the same list on his sister’s wall, so maybe it’s not so much a result of his learning disability. The list ended with “If it’s open, close it” which, I think, is one of the easiest ways to make a room look neater. However, in the five or six years that the list has been hanging there, I was never sure if he read it.

At home last weekend, he made himself a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of tea for breakfast. This entailed taking the oatmeal out of the pantry, taking the bowl out of one cupboard, taking a measuring cup from another, taking a spoon from the silverware drawer. He then put it in and took it out of the microwave. He took a mug from another cupboard and made himself a cup of tea. At the end of this process, every single door and drawer in the kitchen was open. I called him back to the kitchen, and said, “What do you see?” He immediately caught on and closed every one, even without anything more specific being said. Maybe he did read the “how to clean your room” list.

So last Sunday, I looked at his dorm room and saw a mess; but he often does not have the same reaction. If he picks up most of his dirty laundry and leaves a few socks on the floor, his room is clean. If he moves half of the books and papers that are scattered on his desk, the desk is cleared off. At this point, I really can’t put a checklist on his dorm wall with reminders to clean up. And it’s not like his roommate is a clean freak (thankfully). But there is a discernible difference in the two sides of the room, of which my son is utterly unaware. I tried to clean up and discretely point out that there were wrappers and bottles on the floor and he carted things off to the trash can.

Is being prone to clutter part of my son’s learning difference? No, not really; though NLD does have an impact on his general organizational skills. But the fact that he’s often unaware of what is in disarray and what is well-ordered probably is. So I’ll keep reminding him and, in good time, it will stick.


Anonymous said...

This sounds exactly like my 19 year old, Allison! Every possession she has -- particularly clothes --need to be out on the floor in her room so she can "see" what she's got. I think all teens have a learning disability when it comes to neatness! Stephanie

PatK said...

You might be right on that, Steph! -- I'm picturing my own daughter's room!