Some thoughts on sequencing

Many LD people have trouble with the sequencing of tasks. One sort of problem is simply remembering what order to do the things we do every day.  Some people suggest putting up signs that say things like: Brush teeth, take shower, dry off, get dressed, pack bookbag …. and so on. If that works for you or your kid, great. But if not ….There are problems with these signs. One problem is that we get used to seeing them and then we ignore them. Another is that it can be hard to remember where you are on the list. And if dyslexia is part of the LD, reading a list might be a chore. Maybe NT parents have trouble believing this but it’s true – I have forgotten whether I put on deodorant in the time it takes me to get my shirt. So, one alternative is to learn one step at a time and learn it well. What do I mean? Well, if the first thing you want your kid to do when she wakes up is go into the bathroom, try practicing just that. Over and over until he gets it right automatically.  Then add the next step (whatever it is, brushing teeth or whatever).

And if any task takes too long to master, break it down. Maybe brushing teeth needs to be broken down into wetting toothbrush, adding toothpaste,  brushing, rinsing.  Make each task small enough to be learnable.

Another idea is to use mnemonics.  Try making up codes that remind you or your kid of the order in which things get done.

And use the type of mnemonic you like. I like verbal ones but many LD people may prefer visual ones.


  1. Gretchen Faustus says

    Dr Flom,
    as a recently diagnosed adult with NVLD (and a fellow statistician) I am very interested to hear how you learned to overcome the sequencing problems in your work over the years… in my case, I find myself pulling very long days because the sequencing problems can interfere quite a lot with learning new software, writing code or even moving past the exploratory stage of data analysis! any insights or links to other resources would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Hi
    Thanks for your comment. I’m not good at programming or learning software, so I can’t help much there.

    On analysis, I don’t view it as a sequencing thing. It’s more like solving a puzzle. Hmm. This told me that. What do I want to find out next?

    (Please respond with more questions).

  3. Gretchen Faustus says

    Hello Dr. Flom,
    thank you for your reply!
    Re: programming: this is an interesting point of view. My colleagues all know at least three “languages” (e.g. sas, r and stata) and I feel that I need to have the same competencies to be competitive… but it may be my perfectionism 🙂 In your case, have you selected one software package that best fits your needs and stuck with it?

  4. Gretchen Faustus says

    As for the analysis process, It is indeed like solving a puzzle. But one still needs to go through a series of steps (e.g. ‘cleaning-exploring/descriptives- writing the model – testing assumptions – initial model run – adjustment and subsequent model runs – final model and write-up”.For me, the problem starts with making a written plan in the initial phase (takes a lot of time to decide on focus). And it continues getting stuck in the exploration and assumption testing phase and then deciding how far back to go when fine-tuning the model. I think about it as a sequencing problem, but maybe it is just a lack of experience?
    I was thus wondering if you have ever had similar problems and how you approached it through your strengths?
    Thank you for continuing the conversation! I VERY appreciate your time!

  5. I use SAS and R, but mostly because I learned statistics using SAS. Then I learned a bit of R.

  6. I think it’s probably lack of experience. I never make a written plan!

    But deciding on the focus often takes a lot of time. It’s very important – without that, nothing else will be right. But it can be hard to ge a client to tell you what to focus on. A lot of them seem to think that’s our job!

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