School Help for the Child Struggling with Distractions and Lack of Focus

How ADHD Can Affect a Child’s Ability to Focus

For a child in school who struggles with ADHD and or sensory issues, just being able to truly HEAR what the teacher is saying, FOLLOW the visual information presented, and in some cases, WRITE DOWN the necessary information to review later can be a big challenge. Is it best to modify the environment or expectations to accommodate the child’s needs, or perhaps have the child adjust their own expectations of what they can do? In practice, it is often a combination of approaches that are all required. It often takes flexibility, creativity, patience and perseverance on the part of all involved. Let’s explore the best ways to truly help a child who struggles.

Internal and External Distractions

If your child is easily distracted, they may have a very hard time attending to a teacher’s lesson. Keep in mind that distractions can occur due to internal thoughts or external stimuli. Their eyes may wander and their thoughts may wander. In only a split second, something internal or external may catch their attention and they have lost the teacher’s train of explanation. To make matter’s more complicated, many children who have ADHD have a slower than average processing speed. This may make it harder to pick up the teacher’s lesson where they left off, as it takes them a little longer to processes and integrate the next information they hear.

Understanding the Distracted Student

It is vital that teachers recognize that this is part of the neurobiology of the student. They cannot always control their attention, much as they may try. Helping a child by making the environment more suitable to their tendencies does not absolve them of responsibility, it does, however, allow them the best chance to keep up and catch up with the lesson plan. Working with the student by respectfully, discreetly, and creatively in coming up with methods to help them learn, will empower the student feel more optimistic and to try ever harder.

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