Attention difficulties

Discussion in 'General Education' started by PinkLily, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. PinkLily

    PinkLily Companion

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    Mar 28, 2008

    I have a student in my class that has is very impulsive and has trouble staying focused. I'm fairly certain that he has ADHD, but the parents don't want to hear it and refuse to bring him to a doctor to be tested. His behaviour is manageable, but his marks are suffering because he can't concentrate. The parents have asked me to be 'firm' with him and they made their son promise to try harder. The problem is that I can't force him to focus and I know that he's already trying his best to focus - it's just too hard for him and he doesn't know how. What I am looking for are strategies that I can teach him to improve his concentration skills so that he can actually remember what he is reading and learning in class. Any suggestions?
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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  4. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Mar 28, 2008

    Have you talked to them about his diet? If he is having focus problems it is vital that they take him off sugar, and give him lots of protein foods and whole grains. Sugar sets off a problem like you wouldn't believe.

    One thing I have done in this instance is give the child extra one-on-one time, where you can help him learn some strategies to focus. And as you develop a relationship, he will be more likely to try harder for you. I know for some kids it is just tough. How does he do with hands on learning?
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Mar 28, 2008

    I forgot to ask how old the kid is.
     
  6. JustT

    JustT Comrade

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    Mar 28, 2008

    Sometimes when I have a student who can't seem to focus, I pace myself to walk by his desk every 5 minutes to reset his attention. Giving him visual "cues" might work. If he has a lot of energy, you may want to put him near the back of the room. I had one student one year who needed to move from one desk to another... back and forth. It seemed the only way he could answer the next question. The rest of the students learned to ignore his desk switching.
     
  7. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Could you give him a "squeezy ball"? One of my third graders suffered from ADHD, and my giving him a "squeezy ball" allowed him to get some energy out while still paying attention and quietly learning. I don't know what else to call it - it's a soft ball (smaller than a tennis ball but bigger than a pingpong or golf ball) that they can squeeze with one hand. He also seemed to do better when he could "teach" another student. That's when I knew he was really listening, because he could tell his classmate about the topic.
     
  8. cMcD

    cMcD Groupie

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    Mar 29, 2008

    I have a student that has ADHD and cannot do seat work without being disruptive. I have a carrel in the back of my room. I warn him once, "____, if you can't keep to yourself and do your work you'll have to go back to your other desk." Then after the second time he goes back there to finish. It works out well because he's an average student and can do the work. It's just the other distractions that throw him off.
     
  9. PinkLily

    PinkLily Companion

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    Mar 30, 2008

    Thanks for the suggestions. I think that I am going to talk to the parents about his diet. I have noticed that he eats lots of sugary snacks at school. I'm not sure that diet alone will solve the problem, but I'm sure that it will help.

    Just to clarify a bit, I teach third grade and this particular student is 8 years old. He gets up and moves around a lot, but that doesn't really bother me. I know that he needs to be able to move and we've already added it as an accomodation in his learner plan. What I am most worried about is the fact that even when he is sitting and working on task, it's obvious that his mind is thinking about a million different things. He's a great reader, but he can never remember anything about what he has read. He's also a great speller, but his writing doesn't make a lot of sense because he can't focus on one idea. Although he participates in class activities and discussions, he doesn't absorb a lot of what we have learned because his mind is thinking about other things at the same time. I really think that his mind is going a mile a minute and that is why he is having so much difficulty. His parents really think that I just need to be tougher on him and have higher expectations. They just don't get it.
     
  10. JustT

    JustT Comrade

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    It sounds very familiar to a few students who were diagnosed with ADHD in my classroom before. What helps with reading is to have the student chunk read and create a pnemonic symbol to help him remember what the paragraph was about. This way when he needs to review the story, he can look at the symbols to help him keep on track when answering questions. Let him doodle in a notebook and challenge him to write down 4 things you are talking about when you instruct. The page may look like a mess however, if he can accomplish the task, this will help him keep focus with the current lesson and more likely to stay on task. About the writing.. he can use the same symbolic notes to help him retel what his thoughts are and stay on topic. I've had one student use a recording device since writing tends to displace his thoughts and he doesn't remember what he was trying to say mid sentence.
     
  11. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I agree with the stress ball suggestion and the proximity suggestion. Another thing you can do is work out a "secret code" (8yo boys love spy type things) where if you catch him off task or whatever you'll do something like tap his desk, say some particular phrase or whatever, just as long as it doesn't bring unneeded extra attention to him.
     
  12. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Mar 30, 2008

    I would disagree to a point-- yes, give him a squeezy (a figit)... No! don't make it a ball shaped one! It will go bouncy across the floor more times than you can imagine. They make all kinds of figits that are not round, and that will lay on the table, not roll off of it. :)
     
  13. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Good point rain. Also make sure it's not car, plane, train, well you get the idea.
     
  14. maroki

    maroki Comrade

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    Mar 30, 2008

    I teach first grade so I don't know how well this would work in 3rd grade, but one thing that worked really well for one of my students last year was "free drawing/writing/expression time" that let him express all the thoughts in his head. I would start off any independent work time with 3 or 5 minutes of free expression time (depending on how his day was going and how fidgity he seemed). When that time was over, I would move him onto his independent work. Once he seemed to get overwhelmed again, I would give him a couple minutes of free expression time.
     

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