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ds (6) not concentrating in class

(34 Posts)
tearful Fri 10-Dec-04 19:05:37

Just had ds' report and he seems to be switching off in class. How do I deal with this? If he is switching off, how the hell do I get him to concentrate on concentrating?

happymerryberries Fri 10-Dec-04 19:20:05

Have a chat with his teacher. I would discuss achievable, measurable goals with him eg start all work as soon as it is set, concentrate on work for (eg) five minutes, get her to mark this is some visible way, ticks on the board, marbles in a jar, he should get a small reward when he meets agreed targets.

pixiefish Fri 10-Dec-04 19:23:29

Agree with happy- he needs short tasks that don't give him time to daydream- if he has 1/2 an hour to do a task then he will daydream- he needs to be set short tasks or at least short targets- bite size chunks- this is a boy thing- boys don't like extended tasks- much preferring short tasks

princessinapeartree Fri 10-Dec-04 19:25:57

tearful, my 6 year old also had a real concentration problem, for the whole of year 1. I started her on fish oils (eskimo oil - do a search, there are threads on it) at the beginning of term for year 2, and within about 6 weeks there was a dramatic improvement which her teacher has commented on - said she had terrible concentration early on in the term but now she is "a different child". I highly recommend them, I really do. worth a try, perhaps?

pixiefish Fri 10-Dec-04 19:28:48

I've heard good things about that as well princessph. Or you could try that EyeQ

tearful Fri 10-Dec-04 19:29:56

It seems to be only when the teacher is actually teaching, rather than while carrying out tasks. It is a listening thing. And I tried the fish oils in various different guises about a year (or less) ago but he hated them, and there was a throw-himself-on-the-floor scene every morning. I tried three different types (cost me a fortune)and he hated them all. I do understand that they are effective but how do you get them down them?

tearful Fri 10-Dec-04 20:41:39


pixiefish Fri 10-Dec-04 20:42:29

open the capsule and mixit in his food?
hate to say this being a teacher myself but does his teacher have a boring voice? does he do this with anyone else?

tearful Fri 10-Dec-04 20:46:43

I don't think she does, no. I don't particularly like her, and don't find her a warm person at all, but he seems to like her and she is obviously a good teacher ie really knows her stuff. That sounds wrong, I think she teaches well too. Maybe she is too matter of fact. If she is boring, what can I/he do?
RE fish oils, I only tried syrup back then but maybe he is big enough for capsules now. do you think it's worth a try? We put the syrup on his cereal and he nearly threw up.

pixiefish Fri 10-Dec-04 20:48:28

i think you need to speak to his teacher- don't know about the fish oils but anything's worth a go

happymerryberries Fri 10-Dec-04 20:50:55

I would def have a word with his teacher. Listening is a skill that we all have to learn, the same sorts of small targets are what he needs, eg to sit and listen for 2, 3, 5 minutes. If it will help him, try asking if she can give him some blu tack to fiddle with when he is listening, sounds daft but it can be a real help for some kids, especially boys.

Caligulights Fri 10-Dec-04 21:03:01

My DS has the same problem, he's extremely good at blocking out sounds he doesn't want to hear, and I suspect that his teacher is one of those sounds. (I'm also one of them, when it comes to "put away your toys" noises.)

My normal technique is to either repeat ad nauseum, raise the volume, or interrupt what he's doing and ask him if he hasn't heard me - none of which are particularly effective! If anyone knows of any good games to develop concentration and listening skills, that might help both me and Tearful out!

Frizbethereindeer Fri 10-Dec-04 21:06:59

ensure that he's had a proper breakfast, so no excuses there, and ensure that school let him have water to aid concentration, (as some still don't) and then use bribary (we did with ss) tell them to aim to get in the schools happy book for good listening (assuming they have a happy book, if not they need to get one!) and then upon collection of so many happy points, he gets a prize of his choice under a certain monetary amount. Continue this over the year, upon production of satisfactory report, gets better prize again. Not saying this will work, but it did for us, we also found out in the process, that ss actually was finding reading really hard, which was why his mind was wandering, so we got him extra help and he's sorted now.

tearful Fri 10-Dec-04 21:13:35

He ahs always had a really massive breakfast, but actually stopped taking water in as he just found it a pain - do you think it really helps?
The happy book thing sounds good - they dont' have one of those as such but they do have a reward system and if I speak to the teacher we might be able to work something out around that. Thanks everyone.

Frizbethereindeer Fri 10-Dec-04 21:17:42

Yep the water thing def helps, it is apparently clinically proven! although by who I don't know, but the whole of ss's class have improved concentration since being allowed it!

Bart Thu 20-Jan-05 13:32:01

Have been searching MN for thread like this as I`ve got the same problem. My Ds (7 last November) day dreams. He`s bright and reads well, can discuss range of subjects in imense detail with huge vocab range but WILL NOT GET DOWN TO ANY WORK.

I read with his clas on Mondays (for about half an hour) he did 2 maths questions in this time. He`s left handed so writing is slow and not very neat but Maths is his real problem area. I really dont know what to do.

His teacher retired at Christmas so now he has an NQT. She isn`t sure what to do with him yet - still finding her feet IYKWIM.

I read this thread and put DSA on MorEPA mini capsules that I bought from the health food shop. They contain omega 3 and 6. Are these the sort of fish oil that you folks are saying will help him.

Bart Thu 20-Jan-05 13:34:03

That should say I put Ds on MorEPA mini capsules

LIZS Thu 20-Jan-05 21:25:17

Bart ,we use EyeQ which contains Fish oil and Virgin Evening Primrose but not sure which Omega's ! You may find this thread and this thread interesting

ds is almost 7 and also dreams and can't/doesn't produce on paper what is in his head easily. In his case though he has motor issues (both fine and gross) and has difficulties with sequencing ie breaking a task down into logical steps and getting on with it. He can read well but maths is really hard work, sometimes he gets it and cracks on, sometimes not. For his problems the capsules and Occupational Therapy have made a difference. He is much more jumpy and distractable if he misses a dose of EyeQ.

Bart Fri 21-Jan-05 16:10:56

LIZS would I "know" if DS had other problems such as yours has. I had hoped the reading and inteligent chatting meant things were ok but hes poor at all things sporty (including running).
I worry like stink about him, always have as he was 7 wks prem and always been small/pale/fragile. Would apprieciate your thoughts.

LIZS Fri 21-Jan-05 17:47:02

We didn't find out that there was anything really out of synch with his peers until it was highlighted by his teacher just before he turned 6. However there had been concerns raised in passiing by a speech therapist when he as 3 1/2 which were later discounted and his teacher in the equivalent of Reception had found him easily distracted and slow to do things like dress to go outside. He was our first child and I felt perhaps I'd overprotected him a bit thus making him overly cautious and unadventurous as a toddler. He has never been a physically confident child but hit the milestones and coped well enough. He was good at puzzles, construction, imaginative play, loved books could identify letters and numbers easily from 2 etc so we were not unduly worried.

Now that his OT has explored it further we can recognise some of the traits of his earlier behaviour as being in keeping with the problems now identified. Things like tactile issues - reluctance to walk barefoot on grass for instance - awkward gait, non-instinctive pencil grip, difficulties with knife and fork, reluctance to ride a trike/bike, problems with buttons and zips ... many of these specifically are dyspraxia related tendencies although we don't have a specific diagnosis and this may well not apply to your ds.

Perhaps in the first instance it would be worth approaching your ds' teacher (difficult if new and temporary) and the school SENCO to see if they feel it is worth further exploration. They should realise if his behaviour is just common in boys his age or whether he appears to have difficulties beyond this.

Good luck

Bart Fri 21-Jan-05 20:41:58

LIZs, mine cant ride a bike, didn`t naturally take to pencil holding,slow to dress himself (doesnt do laces even now)and we`ve spent a number of yrs seeing speech therapist for disfluency (discharged now). Tactile stuff doesnt apply to my son though - quite sad just now. Can you tell me about the OT stuff . Thanks.

LIZS Fri 21-Jan-05 21:04:41

Well , we're not in UK so are in the fortunate position of having one attached to ds' school. Basically she structures their sessions pretty loosely but allows him to lead the play, so for example they might set up an obstacle course around a theme driven by his imagination but including particular exercises or apparatus (balancing, throwing bean bags at targets and so on). She also does exercises to help him work on fine motor issues, coordination and planning tasks/carrying them out - baking cookies for example - and helps his teacher with advice on the classroom environment and how to approach the problems she may encouter, including getting him a particular pencil grip. He only sees her once a week for an hour bur so looks forward to their sessions. Dreading having to try to find the equivalent in UK.

Who referred your ds for the speech - could you go back to them to get a general review ? If you can face it, pluck up the courage and visit the other Education and/or Special Needs threads. You are certainly not the only one on here to experience such issues and will find great support and ideas.


Caligula Fri 21-Jan-05 21:33:11

LIZS and Bart, your boys sound remarkably like mine. Especially the speech, motor issues, inability to manage buttons/ laces etc. Every single time he has PE he comes home with his shirt inside out. And most of his clothes get put on back to front, every single morning and I know it's not because he's playing the goat. But also the dreaming, the enraging ability to block out what's going on around him...

I'd just thought it was normal five year boy behaviour - but then, I have no idea what a normal five year old is like, I only know mine well! Does this sound like I should be more concerned about this than I have been up to now?

LIZS Sat 22-Jan-05 15:53:41

Not sure Caligula tbh. It could still simply be typical of young boys' behaviour but I suppose if you feel things just don't all add up to that it is worth consulting someone who can either reassure you or evaluate it. Truth is that there is actually a reasonably high incidence of dyspraxia , for example, up to 10 % of the population, 4x more common in boys and, on that basis, statistically there could be at least one such child in every class in UK but presumably many are never identified or diagnosed. My worry with ds is that as his issues are mild but specific, he could cope well enough in a class of 30 and is compliant, such that he would not stick out in a class of 30. This site may be of interest as may this one if you feel the description may fit.

Caligula Sat 22-Jan-05 16:43:12

Thanks for those links Lizs. I had a look and he fits some of the criteria (but then, I imagine all 5 year old boys fit some of them!) but not all.

At what age did you get a diagnosis?

If he is dyspraxic, then obviously I'd like to get him diagnosed asap, but if not, i don't want to rush in to the SENCO like a lunatic demanding diagnoses for imagined conditions!

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