Improving Attention - Students with learning disabilities
sometimes have difficulty attending in class. This is particularly true of students who also have Attention Deficit Disorders with and without hyperactivity. These tips can help used alone or with a comprehensive behavior intervention plan.
- Seat the student near the teacher for instruction.
- Provide a quiet area for seat work or consider a study carrel, stall, or cubicle.
- Pair the student near others who model appropriate study habits. Watch the situation to ensure the model students are able to work. If this arrangement causes unfair disruption of their work, try another method.
- Ensure students have adequate physical space between them.
- Increase the amount of time the student has to complete the task.
- Break assignments down into smaller tasks to help the student focus on finishing each part. Some students become overwhelmed when given too much information to process at once.
- Help the student determine what tasks need to be done in what order. Help him organize his work with checklists, and have him check off items as he completes them.
- Consider using a timer to help the child track the amount of time he has to complete the tasks.
- Reduce the amount of work the child must complete. For example, consider shortening spelling lists, reducing the number of pages he must read, or reducing the number of questions he must answer.
- Provide guidance in multiple forms. Provide visual and hands-on models, written directions, spoken directions, and check for the student's understanding several times while he works. Give frequent feedback on things he is doing well and things he needs to correct.
- In some cases, copying other students' notes can help students with inattention problems. In other cases, it is not helpful because the child may see even less reason to focus on what is being said in class. If you try this strategy, observe the student to determine if it is effective. Allowing tape recorded lectures or providing the student with a teacher-made outline of instruction in class may also be helpful. Again, however, observe to determine the effectiveness of these interventions.
- Use cues to encourage the child to get back on task. Agree ahead of time what those cues will be. A touch on the shoulder, a hand on his desk, a tap on the blackboard, flipping the light switch with a general prompt to the class such as, "Everyone should be reading silently on chapter three now. We're quiet and looking at the textbooks."
- Some students will need more direct assistance such as a physical prompt. A touch on the shoulder with a reminder to get back to work can help.
- Some children may need more structure as in behavior intervention plan to improve their attention.