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Why can't my child stay focused in school?


blopez112 October 9, 2008

My son is in 3rd grade & ever since he has been in a learning environment I have been told the same thing - he is very smart but can't seem to stay still or remain on task. His current teacher is having the guidance counsler evaluate him. He also has the same problem with listening both at home & in school. Grades are outstanding & his reading level & vocab. is high for someone his age. I am getting tired of every teacher trying to diagnose him with a problem. I try to explain to them that it could be that he is bored - I say this only because when he attended daycare & the teacher was having him with disrupting the class she tried something new - she gave him work for the age group above him &that seemed to get him interested - stopping the disruption. In addition, when he was 4, I had him tested for this school that only accepts bright student, he passed but unfortunately tuition was 20,000 a year. I need some advice on this. What could be causing him not to pay attention in class?

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OnePrayingMom November 6, 2008

If he tested in a school for bright students - that is probably where he needs to be because he is probably bored out of his mind. Unfortunately, it is too costly. You may want to check your school system to see if they have a Magnet Program, High Achiever Program, or Gifted Program within the Public School System. On the other hand just to be safe - have his pediatrician check him to make sure he is not ADHD. If he is - early intervention would be the best thing for him. Have an assessment performed independent of the school. Check w/your pediatrician.
Also, check to make sure he does not have Epilepsy: Complex Partial Seizures. My son's behavior changed in the second half of 2nd grade. Not focusing and not staying in his seat either/active. We determined he was having seizures - not focusing and the behavior part was due to the type of epilepsy he has. Just cover all aspects now so you will know how to help him and just be open to it if he is ADHD, accepting, patient and do your homework to make sure he is protected by law in the school. Get an IEP. Hopefully, everything is fine and it is just his hormones due to him growing. But, just check it all out and good luck!


PilarE November 19, 2008

I am surprised how many people recommended testing. What if the child is mis-diagnosed? I've heard horror stories of kids being diagnosed as ADHD and being labled as such when they are just smart and bored in class. I am leery of testing. My son is not "gifted" in the traditional sense. He hasn't taught himself to do anything, although he is above average bright and very curious. I don't think he has ADHD but definitely can't sit still and likes to be silly and clownish in class. Has anyone found strategies that worked for this type of kids?


debrasuefitzge November 19, 2008

i agree with you pilarE,i dont think he has ADHD,I have also heard horror stories of kids being diagnosed as ADHD.i hope some one can find strategies that work for these type kids.


momandateacher December 9, 2008

Any teacher "worth their salt" would have already ruled out the boredom piece--it is simply not beneficial for any teacher to have a bored child in their class! Don't forget that the environment of the classroom could be acting as a distraction to your child, which is why differences do not appear outside of the classroom. Sensory issues that are not noticeable at home are often uncovered in the educational environment. You might want to talk to your child's pediatrician about attention and sensory concerns.


kimber2k May 13, 2009

yes this is me too! I am constantly hearing from the teacher that he's not paying attention and she has to remind him to keep on task, he is reading at a higher grade level, doing well in all areas. I just can't figure out what is going on. he sometimes has a hardtime with homework as well. I have done all kinds of research online and in the library. I want my son to thrive in school. thoughts anyone??


healthy11 May 13, 2009

kimber2k, is your son also in 3rd grade? Does your school offer a gifted program, and is he in it? Did you go back and read all of the previous comments that have been posted in this discussion? Please do, and look at


koreydeone March 2, 2010

My child is in the 6th grade. I have had the same problem since he was tested as a gifted student in the 2nd grade. He has attended a TAG school from 3rd thru 5th. He had problems focusing and still does. His 5th grade teacher recommended that he be tested, but I thought that it was another way of "labeling" a child with some sought of problem. I moved him from his elementary school which would have gone to the 6th grade this year into a middle school that is in a beeter neighborhood. He had to apply to get into this school and was accepted. He is not doing well in his core subjects - language arts, science and math. His problem is writing down his homework and just remaining focus. He is not focused at home either.... I know that he can do the work because he is smart; however, how do you get a kid focus, I have tried everything that I could think of- should I get him tested for something?? I just don't know what to do. He is a wonderful loving kid; does not give me any problems with getting in trouble, very respectable to his peers, etc..... He just has focus issues and his bad grades are coming from him not writing down his homework assignments and staying on task in!!


healthy11 March 3, 2010

koreydeone, the original question in this discussion was posted a long time ago. Greatschools community format was recently revised, so unfortunately the link I listed above, about "2e" or "twice exceptional" students, (gifted with ADHD and/or LDs) is no longer working. I have reassembled a lot of information about "2e" students here: and you might want to look at

Have you spoken to his pediatrician about his issues? It sounds like he could have an attention deficit, and that's considered a medical condition, so a doctor would have to be involved, although the doctor will probably seek information from his teachers, via rating sheets, etc. to make any diagnosis.
My own highly gifted son has ADHD, along with dyslexia and dysgraphia. I was hesitant to "label" him, too, but after the diagnosis, at least he was able to get accommodations from the school, and now he's older, in college, and doing much better.


pbod153 March 5, 2010

HI, first time posting.
My 7 year old is very bright and slightly hyper, possibly ADD (looking into testing now). Up until now he has loved school. He has always been ahead on reading and math but has always had issues with sitting still and not being disruptive when he gets bored. We have always tried to help him cope without special accommodations at school and everytime we have asked his teachers if they thought he might be hyper/ADD they tell us no because he does to well academically. He never studies (math, spelling, vocab) but always gets perfect scores on his assignments. We keep telling him he will have to study to keep up at some point and he keeps proving us wrong. We have been very fortunae up until now because all the teachers he has had (he's in 2nd grade now) have understood him and worked very well with him. even going as far as seeing that he needs to expel energy at times and coming up with inventive ways to do that without being disruptive to the rest of the class. His biggest issues seem to be his "special" periods. Gym, Lunch, Music and sometimes art, but not so much because he loves art and tends to be super creative. Trouble has arisen though when he got in trouble for jumping in line at lunch and knocking the child in front of him down. His punishment was to sit in the office during recess for 2 days and basically not move. as you could imagine two days has turned into four and now 6 because he can't sit still so he keeps getting in more trouble and has more time added to his "sentence". tonight he broke down and found the first time he told me he hated school. In one short week they succeeded in doing what we work so hard to ensure would not happen over the last 3 years. I know we have to teach self control but I am very against drugs for him ( i was a Ritalin kid who had to be detoxed from it because of the levels they had me at). sorry for the long post but he broke my heart tonight and i'm not sure where to begin. I don't have a lot6 of money so right now a private school is not an option. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


healthy11 March 5, 2010

pbod153, welcome! As I mentioned earlier, I have a "2e" or "twice exceptional" son, (gifted with ADHD and/or LDs), and I know how hard the school environment can be for kids like that. "Less structured times" like lunch were nightmares for my son, and being extremely bright, he would often get bored even in regular classtimes and then distract the kids around him (the subjects he could understand, he'd grasp very quickly; just don't ask him to sit still and write!)

I probably don't have to tell you that there is a strong hereditary link to ADHD, so with your past history, I wouldn't be surprised if your son is also dealing with it. The good news is that there have been many, many advances in medication treatment, should you opt to try that approach. It can definitely help some people, but it's not magic, and establishing limits and structure, and perhaps a reward system for good behavior, are all important, too.

Getting a formal diagnosis can help your son in term of eligibility for an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and formally documented accommodations, etc. Under the circumstances, I think you ought to request an FBA (Functional Behavioral Analysis) and resulting from it should come a BIP (Behavioral Intervention Plan).

I have reassembled a lot of information about "2e" students here: and you might want to look at and join your local chapter, too, for support "closer to home."

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