Dear Jacqui, My son is in Year 5 and has been diagnosed with ADHD due to his inattention. He has a severe language impairment, mild dyslexia and fine motor problems affecting handwriting. He also has suspected auditory processing difficulties and poor working memory. He is achieving in the low average range at school but needs support due to his inattention. Is there any advice you can offer about his attention?
Attention is a very important factor in learning along with working memory. Your child needs to attend to receive the information and then hold it and manipulate it in the memory, retaining the important parts. In the auditory mode, the child will process what they hear (the parts that are not disrupted by auditory processing difficulties or memory issues). This will then pass to the language centre of the brain but missing parts of the information can affect language, reading, writing and spelling. In order to improve these areas, you can try to keep his attention with the following:
• When instructions are given, make sure to address him by name.
• For individual work, make sure that he has clear instructions, that he understands what to do and has all the necessary equipment.
• Set him a time-limited target for completion (e.g. using a sand timer) and then reward him for staying on task (e.g. with house points).
• Providing a work station when he is expected to work individually may help to reduce extraneous distractions. Similarly, using headphones to block ambient noise.