By popular demand, here are my 10 top school recommendations for children struggling with focus and attention in class! Remember, no one strategy will be effective for every child. Take this list to school with you to discuss with your child’s teacher which strategies would fit your child the best!!

1. Preferred Seating. Try placing your child away from distractions. Either at the front of the classroom, close to the teacher, or away from highly distractible peers.

2. Modified Work Assignments. Consider chunking down lengthier assignments into smaller portions or ‘chunks’, allowing your child opportunities for breaks in between, and/or check-ins from the teacher.

3. Concrete, Specific instructions. Clear, more concrete and specific direction may need to be given for in-class assignments and/or homework. Consider asking the teacher to repeat directions to your child individually to ensure adequate comprehension.

4. Visual examples/reinforcement. For any instruction, routine, or series of directions, try visual cues such as a picture chart, or visual examples for your child to follow in order to enhance his/her ability to follow instructions.

5. Factor in Breaks. Opportunities for breaks at times of the day when long periods of sitting are required can be helpful. Consider allowing your child to get up, and complete a task either in or outside the classroom (e.g. run an errand for the teacher, etc.). Exercise breaks may also be helpful.

6. Modified homework. Consider paring down homework assignments to make it manageable for your child. For longer projects, consider giving your child the assignment ahead of his peers to allow for more time for project completion.

7. Special test accommodations. Consider allowing your child extra time to complete tests or within specific environments free of distractions (e.g. in a quiet office)

8. Positive reinforcement. Provide frequent positive reinforcement for attempts rather than successes per se. Consider putting a tally system or sticker system in place to allow your child to earn an agreed upon reward or incentive. Make sure expectations are within reach of the child.

9. Active participation . Encourage active participation in any group discussion or activity that would be appropriate. Sitting and listening passively can be difficult for a child with focus/attention challenges.

10. Warnings of Upcoming Transitions. Provide your child with frequent warnings prior to transitioning to another activity. Where possible, allow your child to finish a task before asking him to start another.

If these strategies do not prove helpful, consider putting a behavioral plan in place with the assistance of a qualified child psychologist. There may be ways of individualizing these suggestions to suit your particular child in his or her classroom. If you have a particular question or concern, please ask me!

As always, please share, provide feedback and suggestions for strategies that worked for you and your child!

Thanks for reading!
-Dr. Deb