By Dr. Michelle Alvarez, Consulting Educator
My son has difficulty staying focused on the task at hand, especially when it comes to writing and getting thoughts onto paper. He's easily distracted by things and people around him.
If he sits near the teacher, he can stay on task, but there are 20-some other children in the class. It's been hard for him to learn to read. He is finally trying to sound out words and use decoding strategies, but doesn't read for meaning yet and will often guess at a word. There doesn't seem to be an issue with intelligence.
Any suggestions how to best help him concentrate and get the work completed with minimal frustration for both him and the teacher?
First, always be mindful of the difficulty level of the work that your son is asked to complete. One of the primary causes of student off-task behavior is work that is beyond their instructional range. Provided the difficulty of the work matches the level of support he gets to help him complete it, consider some of the following:
These same techniques can be used at home for reading assignments. After you have implemented some of the suggestions for a two-month period, follow up with the teacher to see if they are working. Keep re-evaluating the situation so that you can identify what works and what does not..
Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.
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