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MMJMOM
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12 Sep 2012, 1:11 pm

How do you help focus a 7yo who is extremely distractable. The house can be silent and he can hear a noise down the street and get distracted. I cannot control everything in the envt for him, and I believe if I did, if he was in a sound proof room, he would find something else to be distracted by.

So, what are some tips to help him. It takes HOURS to get work done, work that shoudl take 10-15 minutes. He is crying, I dont know what to do or how to help him.
He distracts himeslf, he hums, bounces, chews the pencil, dazes off into space.

I dont know how to help him????


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Dara, mom to my beautiful kids:
J- 8, diagnosed Aspergers and ADHD possible learning disability due to porcessing speed, born with a cleft lip and palate.
M- 5
M-, who would be 6 1/2, my forever angel baby
E- 1 year old!! !


zette
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12 Sep 2012, 2:37 pm

What have you tried so far? Occupational Therapists sometimes have some good suggestions.

These two books may be helpful:
Parenting Children with ADHD: 10 Lessons That Medicine Cannot Teach by Vincent J. Monastra
Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach by Peg Dawson, Richard Guarer

You might also check out addforum.com and http://www.additudemag.com/.



cathylynn
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12 Sep 2012, 3:26 pm

7 yr. olds cannot sit forhours even if they don't have ADHD. i suggest frequent planned breaks - an apple here, a jog around the outside of the house there. focus between breaks my then improve.



Mama_to_Grace
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12 Sep 2012, 4:20 pm

Constant redirection! This is what I do. Also, choosing a time when he is least distractable to do focused work.



ASDMommyASDKid
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12 Sep 2012, 4:23 pm

Does he respond to bribes? (That is what worked for us.)

Maybe give him something or access to an activity as a reward for getting his homework done correctly within say a half hour? I know you said it should take 10-15 minutes, but a half hour is easier to attain, and it will build a good habit. You can always offer a better reward for less time, once you establish some success.

Just make sure he knows it has to be done correctly and neatly (for him) if it is written. You do not want him whizzing through it just to get the reward. Also make sure that you know he can do the work, or that you are there to provide guidance if he needs it. Success is really important for this to work. He has to see that he can do it.



Last edited by ASDMommyASDKid on 13 Sep 2012, 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

MMJMOM
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12 Sep 2012, 4:23 pm

I am not asking him to sit for hours, he does get up...thats one of the issues. He is up and drinking water, going to the bathroom, falling out of his chair. Thats why it takes him hours casue he is so distracted, cannot sit, cannot focus, he is up ever 2 seconds, etc... Had he just sit and done his work, he would be done on 15 minutes with one, and another 15-20 with the other. That is reasonable for a 2nd grader. In school they are required to sit at their desks and complete an assignment of this amount of time at his age. He just cannot.

I have tired timers, letting him get up, taking breaks, etc...he has OT but that is just for fine motor activitie and muscle strengthening. It just takes forever to do anything school work wise. He is homeschooled, so he isnt sitting in a class all day. He literally has to just do his work and he can be done for the day to do whatever, but it is like torture for him to sit and focus on work for any amount of time. Be is 5 minutes or 20.


We are seeing a new psychologist and might be considering ADHD meds. Something has to give. He is miserable, crying, and I dont know how to help him. I try to control the envt as much as possible, but no matter how quiet it is he still cant focus.

Thanks for the book recs, I will look into them!


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Dara, mom to my beautiful kids:
J- 8, diagnosed Aspergers and ADHD possible learning disability due to porcessing speed, born with a cleft lip and palate.
M- 5
M-, who would be 6 1/2, my forever angel baby
E- 1 year old!! !


Eureka-C
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12 Sep 2012, 4:43 pm

For the sound sensitivity, some white noise like a fan, or a white noise machine can help engage the auditory system without being distracting and cover over those quiet sounds.

For the attention span, that's a hard one.

Something to try is to tell him he will have to do 15 minutes of work and that is all. When his 15 minutes of "on task" work is complete he is done and gets a 15 minute break with a preferred activity.

Then set a timer you can stop and start. Start when he is on task, and pause it every time he is off task. Saying something like. "you have 2 minutes done, tell me when you are ready to start again" or "you have 13 minutes left, tell me when you are ready to start again. This puts it in his control. You may have to stop/start the timer 50 or more times in 15 minutes, but you will know and he will know when he has done 15 minutes of work. And most importantly he will know when his time is up and hopefully will be motivated by knowing when it will end. After and only after his 15 minutes (or whatever time you think is appropriate) is up, then let him have a 15 minute break with free time from a list of preferred activities. Additionally, it is okay to move, wiggle, and stand up, or lay down while working. You may have to define "on task" as when you are writing down answers only, so he does not use "I was thinking" as the work time. Although thinking is a part of working, it is hard to see and measure.



MMJMOM
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12 Sep 2012, 4:56 pm

White noise distracs him! THe AC on, the waterfall in the pond in the yard...he tells me the noise is bothering him! I dont mind him up moving bouncing, etc...as long as he is DOING the work. But that prevents him from doing anything. UGH its hard! I feel for him and want to help him. I will try the on task time for preferred activity...


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Dara, mom to my beautiful kids:
J- 8, diagnosed Aspergers and ADHD possible learning disability due to porcessing speed, born with a cleft lip and palate.
M- 5
M-, who would be 6 1/2, my forever angel baby
E- 1 year old!! !


Eureka-C
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12 Sep 2012, 6:33 pm

Yeah, white noise drives me nuts. But my son and husband love it.



Eureka-C
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12 Sep 2012, 6:34 pm

Have you tried sound canceling headphones ?



miss-understood
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13 Sep 2012, 4:54 am

or tried sitting him on a gym ball, so he can bounce(or gently roll) and work?



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13 Sep 2012, 5:16 am

My daughter has Aspergers and she is very easily distracted. Everything distracts her, even the colours of pencils or things on the wall. It need not be moving or making a noise. We were trying to get her homework finished last night and, within seconds, she was off her seat, drinking water, standing on the seat, shouting 'I can't concentrate' and was completely 'ants in her pants'. We were writing sentences (choose 5 spelling words and write a sentence for each). As we were trying to come up with ideas, she started to draw pictures. So we incorporated what she was drawing into the ideas and we managed to come up with sentences. She did not sit still for the duration, she was still overly distracted, but the work got done in a quicker time than usual. This worked for us last night, but I don't know if it will work again.

She has the same issues at school, but she somehow manages to sit still, whilst her mind, eyes and ears are off somewhere else. On Monday, they introduced a new reward scheme for her. She has a chart and every time she finishes a piece of work, she gets a sticker. Tomorrow, if she has enough stickers (and I think she might), she has to go to the head teacher, to get a prize - probably an eraser or something similar. We've tried reward charts at home, but they've only worked for a short time, but I'm hopeful that it will work at school.

This is the most difficult thing we have to deal with, in our house. She gets distracted whilst in the middle of doing absolutely everything, including dressing, bushing her teeth, eating and walking a short distance. If they teachers knew what we went through each week with her homework, they'd be astonished that she ever handed anything in, never mind that she completes it.


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13 Sep 2012, 6:11 am

Mummy_of_Peanut wrote:
My daughter has Aspergers and she is very easily distracted. Everything distracts her, even the colours of pencils or things on the wall. It need not be moving or making a noise. We were trying to get her homework finished last night and, within seconds, she was off her seat, drinking water, standing on the seat, shouting 'I can't concentrate' and was completely 'ants in her pants'. We were writing sentences (choose 5 spelling words and write a sentence for each). As we were trying to come up with ideas, she started to draw pictures. So we incorporated what she was drawing into the ideas and we managed to come up with sentences. She did not sit still for the duration, she was still overly distracted, but the work got done in a quicker time than usual. This worked for us last night, but I don't know if it will work again.

She has the same issues at school, but she somehow manages to sit still, whilst her mind, eyes and ears are off somewhere else. On Monday, they introduced a new reward scheme for her. She has a chart and every time she finishes a piece of work, she gets a sticker. Tomorrow, if she has enough stickers (and I think she might), she has to go to the head teacher, to get a prize - probably an eraser or something similar. We've tried reward charts at home, but they've only worked for a short time, but I'm hopeful that it will work at school.

This is the most difficult thing we have to deal with, in our house. She gets distracted whilst in the middle of doing absolutely everything, including dressing, bushing her teeth, eating and walking a short distance. If they teachers knew what we went through each week with her homework, they'd be astonished that she ever handed anything in, never mind that she completes it.


Same here lol! We dont get much homework with her as shes only just started reception class but we are supposed to practise letters and shes jumping around, singing, shouting, doodling, chewing her pencil etc. The other day I played a game where she had to jump when I showed her the letter J card, lie down for L and so on. She seemed to respond to that but like you say it may only work if shes in the mood! The teachers say shes ok at concentrating at school but then thats why shes worse when she gets home. We just muddle through it and get as much done as we can and then give up, dont know how we will cope when her home work gets more serious when shes older!! :roll:



Mummy_of_Peanut
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13 Sep 2012, 7:01 am

ConfusedNewb wrote:
Same here lol! We dont get much homework with her as shes only just started reception class but we are supposed to practise letters and shes jumping around, singing, shouting, doodling, chewing her pencil etc. The other day I played a game where she had to jump when I showed her the letter J card, lie down for L and so on. She seemed to respond to that but like you say it may only work if shes in the mood! The teachers say shes ok at concentrating at school but then thats why shes worse when she gets home. We just muddle through it and get as much done as we can and then give up, dont know how we will cope when her home work gets more serious when shes older!! :roll:
We're not at the serious homework stage either, thankfully, as she's just started P3. I'm concerned about what's to come too. She has started the times tables now, so there is a bit of a change, but it appears to be very gradual.

I remember her very first homework. I was in tears as she just refused to do it and I was worried that this was what it was going to be like every week. A few weeks later, we sat for an hour trying to get her to spell 'they', using 'the' as a starting point, as she knew how to spell that one. I felt like we were going round in circles, as she kept forgetting what we were doing. There's only one time when she hasn't completed it, so far. She had to write her spelling words in bubble writing, twice. She got so upset about this that she did it once then I gave up and wrote a letter to the teacher. She never even managed to learn the spelling words that week, as she was exhausted. Bubble writing is supposed to be a fun way of learning to spell, but for her it's really stressful. The teachers never asked the class to do it again.

It's funny, but I can usually get her to do her maths, without too much trouble. But, when it comes to writing anything, she wants to put it off until the last minute (even though her writing is lovely and she's having no problems with her spelling tests). Her homework is given out on a Monday and has to be in by the Friday, so it can be done any night (teachers make allowances for after school activities). She gets her maths done on the Monday, has swimming on the Tuesday and usually refuses on the Wednesday. The last couple of Thursdays, she still had to do her spelling/sentences. It was about 9pm before she finished. Last night, I was determined that it was going to get done and we had success due to the drawing. It was handed in this morning, with a whole day to spare.


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13 Sep 2012, 10:27 am

We tried all of the things described by the other posts -- and some worked (motivation-type things, like candy, or a new toy, or a new game) but they worked only when my son was very young. After a while, nothing really motivated him.

The distractibility of noise decreased as he got older. That doesn't help you now, but I can tell you that over time, they do improve in this area.

At a little older than your child, we did the ADD drugs through our GP. I think you are doing a much smarter thing by going straight to an ADD specialist. We have been going to one of those for two years now, and the difference has been amazing. The most important difference is a much happier, much more confident child. I know meds are not for everyone, and I can attest to the fact that it may take a year or longer to get the right mix of meds -- but it has been worth it, for sure.

If your child is young, and you can tell that motivators aren't working, and your child is highly distractible (not just slightly) -- then going to an ADD specialist is a terrific thing to do, especially as the child is young and matures. Instead of constantly fighting the ADD tendencies, and getting very little learning in (social or academic), you can get the ADD problems fine-tuned, and some learning can be accomplished early -- thus giving skills to your young son that he can build on. We waited almost too long (high school) and lost some opportunities for younger learning.