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Intervention Suggestions for Parents/Teachers with a Distractible Child

by Dr. Jared Maloff, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Los Angeles, CA

If your child or a child you work with has difficulty paying attention in a way that adversely impacts his or her ability to learn, they may have ADHD. Look for these symptoms below:

Easily Distracted by Noises

Difficulty Sitting Still

Displays excessive excitement/protestation at changes in the routine

Has difficulty transitioning from one task to another

Leaves assignments incomplete

Has difficulty coping with physical distress such as hunger, thirst, and mild bodily pains

These symptoms listed above are common symptoms that kids with ADHD may evidence in a school or home environment. A child with ADHD will experience these types of symptoms across environments meaning their symptoms will not be confined to just ocurring at home, or just ocurring at school.

The following are suggestions for helping children presenting with these types of symptoms to function more effectively and adaptively:

Clear the child’s desk between assignments to minimize distractions and promote organization

When working on math problems, give the child one problem at a time, gradually increasing the amount to two or three at a time, rather than a full page of problems. Presenting many problems at once may overwhelm a child with attention problems.

Limit choices in problem solving techniques to ones that the child has already demonstrated successfully, thereby teaching the child to rely on his or her strengths.

Schedule time outs to allow the child to release pent up energy

Always make and maintain eye contact when giving simple, direct instructions. This promotes attentiveness

Provide incentives for completing assignments and also reward the ABSENCE of maladaptive behavior patterns. This creates an effective pattern of reinforcement.

Let the child know what is expected of him/her when giving assignments thus helping the child to focus on what is crucial to successfully completing the assignment.

These suggestions can help a child with attention problems to function more effectively on in class assignments as well as homework assignments. These suggestions can help manage the child's difficulties, but do not represent successful treatmentof their attention problems. In order to treat your child's attention difficulties effectively, contact a mental health professional such as a Clinical Psychologist or Psychiatrist to begin the assessment process.

Dr. Jared Maloff is a Clinical Psychologist practicing in Beverly Hills, California. He works with a vast array of adult, adolescent and child clients presenting with a variety of symptoms and diagnoses. Learn more about his work or contact him or at (310) 712-5480 for more information.

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.


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