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5 nearly 6 year old concentration span- is this normal??

(9 Posts)
natenewt Tue 11-Jan-11 10:31:17

DS will be 6 in Feb. He loves school but I'm worried about him.
He has always struggled with concentration and I'm worrying now that its not normal and need reassurance either that it is or what to do if not. For example He can't make eye contact for long while we talk and when he's not looking at me when I speak he doesn't take in what I say. If I give him an instruction ie please go and get your shoes from the stairs, he will always, everytime leave the room forgetting and going to play etc. I then have to go and ask him again and unless i go with him to get the shoes he won't. This happens with any and almost every instruction I give.
He cannot sit long enough at the table to eat a meal, its almost like he gets bored of eating after 2 mouthfuls (its not my cooking promise, this even happens if we eat macdonalds, icecream anything that requires sitting to eat) he will instead graze on his dinner and gets very upset if I take it away. He won't sit and watch tv for any longer than 10mins and then he seems unable to sit still, he will stand to watch. He seems never able to be still.

Up until he started school I was told this is normal, he's a boy don't worry etc. so have tried not to, but now he is in year 1 at school and although he tries hard most of the time and does well with lots of practice and help from teachers to keep him from falling behind, it just seems like he doesn't retain any information. He can do spellings that he's practiced every day for a week and get them right but if we try the previous weeks spellings (there are only 6 a week, 4 letter words) he will get all or most wrong, even though he practiced every day the week before!

I feel so awful typing this out as other than this he is a wonderful boy, so sociable and loveable, gets on so well with his sister. Is kind and shares everything. I don't know if I'm thinking about this too much or expecting too much from him and because of this I'm ashamed to say that I do sometimes become frustrated with him, like this morning. I apologised to him for getting angry and gave him a big hug before he went in to school but can't help thinking I'm failing him somewhere. I also have no experience with other young children other than school mums to 'compare' notes if you like as I'm the first of my friends to have children and he has no cousins. Sorry its so long and rambling.

natenewt Tue 11-Jan-11 10:35:29

Just wanted to add that its not like I want him to sit and watch tv for ages, its just an example that even if he is excited about a programme he wants to watch, it seems unable to hold his attention. Also macdonalds is a treat and he is so excited if we go but cannot sit long enough to eat it! These are just examples lol.

lostinwales Tue 11-Jan-11 10:39:19

He does sound an awful lot like my DS1 at that age. I think your best course of action is to talk to his teacher and see what she thinks, there can be a big range in normal behaviours at this age so don't worry yourself too much.

Without wanting to scare you have you thought of posting this in SN as there are a lot of people experienced in this feeling of 'is there a problem or not'. Don't be alarmed by the title, I'm not suggesting your son has Special Needs just that this is where to people with most experience of this feeling live!

There are lots of coping strategy's for fidgety boys, the sooner you investigate the easier it will become for him in school. My king of the fidgets has gone from one to one to being in the top set in year 6, in about 18 months. I wish to goodness I'd done something sooner and helped him earlier in his school career.

lostinwales Tue 11-Jan-11 10:42:06

I understand what you mean about TV, there's no judging going on here, it's a good example of something that should hold his attention. As an experiment can you give him something to wrap around himself whilst he watches TV, DS1 has a sleeping bag and once inside finds it easier to stay still.

natenewt Tue 11-Jan-11 10:58:46

Thankyou I will post there too. To be honest his reception teacher expressed concern but didn't go into detail why. It was made worse though by DS needing grommets in both ears for significant hearing loss so thats where the focus went then. When I had a meeting with her I spoke about his hearing and asked whether she thought there was something else holding him back and she thought there maybe. I didn't speak to a dr then though as the school put in place a plan to help him with extra reading groups etc. I have actually given him a sleeping bag for in front of the tv thinking it would make him comfortable but he ends up rolling around the lounge in it instead lol!

Thankyou for your reply anyway, and glad that your son has done so well.

SummerRain Tue 11-Jan-11 10:59:01

He sounds exactly like my dd... she's exactly the same age and everything you describe fits her too.

She's a happy child though... ditzy to the point of driving me mad but it doesn't bother her one bit wink I was worried earlier in the school year as she still hadn't grasped phonics and reading and wasn't concentrating for long enough for it to click but suddenly a month before Christmas she started sounding words out and can struggle through the early readers now.

Her teacher has commented on the air headedness (and has my dyspraxic son in her room too so probably thinks i just breed 'em a bit mad at this point!) but isn't overly concerned as of yet.

The funny thing is dd got some Lego in her stocking at christmas, a small set with enough bits to make a few small cars and tbh i had no expectation that she'd be willing or able to follow the instruction to make the models suggested, i thought she'd just play with them and make up her own.... but last week she came in to wake me with a perfectly made little tractor, she'd followed the instructions perfectly! This is a child who hops from playing with one toy to another every few minutes and walks around while watching tv yet somehow she has the patience to do Lego confused Maybe your son would be able to concentrate if you could find something that grips him.... I didn't think any such thing existed for dd until last week so there's still hope.

natenewt Tue 11-Jan-11 11:28:06

Thankyou summerrain, funny you should mention lego actually. This is the ONLY thing that will hold his attention. He is amazing with it and follows the instructions like your DD. He has tonnes of the stuff and this is really my only distraction technique that I have from all the fidgetting running around. He also like junk making but get frustrated easily if it doesn't stick together how he wants it to.

lostinwales Tue 11-Jan-11 11:37:22

Oh yes, DS1 will go AWOL for literally hours given lego, he's building models for older teens now without help (because it would be beyond me!). There's definitely a type of child we have in common here. He was assessed and came up very high standard (around 15 years age equivalent) for learning by following diagrams like that and now his teacher allows him to learn in similar ways to that whenever possible hence him doing really well now. It's worth having him assessed by a Paed and OT for that alone. All children learn in different ways, some just more different that others!

lostinwales Tue 11-Jan-11 11:54:17

He's 10 nearly 11 now BTW, was 9 at the time of assessment.

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