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6 year old poor attention span, teachers think he needs help, doctor disagrees

(3 Posts)
Meerka Mon 08-Dec-14 17:27:55

Hiya

Expat in the Netherlands.

Our lovely little 6 3/4 yo boy is struggling with both reading and writing. He's lagging behind in both reading and maths.

He is incredibly restless, just cannot sit still at all. Not for anything, not even his beloved computer games which we limit to 30 mins a day.

he also has the attention span of a drunk butterfly. The swimming teacher calls it 'extreme' (he sees over 400 kids a week!) and the school teachers think that it's something different from usual inattention.

The child-doctor we saw said that we were expecting too much from him and that expecting less might help him pay more attention. Sadly I made the huge mistake of letting him take the tablet during the appointment, which is the only time he will ever concentrate on anything. So she didn't see how incredibly restless he is. If the tablet hadn't been there, he'd have been climbing the walls.

The teachers are arranging a special help-meeting and written plan to observe him and to gain evidence so we can go back to the doctors and ask for a re-assessment. When I think about it actually she mostly just talked to me rather than doing any tasks with him which maybe is a reason why she didn't see his lack of attention.

I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how to work with him to help him increase his attention span, to fidgit less (he has to have a special wobble-stool at school!) and to listen better.

He's prone to some pretty spectacular temper tantrums when he doesn't get his own way and sulks, too.

TwoLeftSocks Tue 09-Dec-14 11:53:04

He sounds a bit like our DS1, especially the attention span. He got his ADHD diagnosis about a year ago, mainly inattentive traits but also a bit hyperactive and can be impulsive. Are you thinking it might be something like that?

For us, school raised it when he was 6 and I took him to the GP, but he sat as good as gold and the GP dismissed it. School tried all sorts of techniques in class to help him focus but he really struggled to remain on-task. In the end we went back to the GP with a letter from the school outlining his behaviour and all they'd tried. Got a referral straight away, which led to his diagnosis.

It's helped a lot as his teacher has been very proactive in trying out techniques in class to keep him focussed. Things like keeping tasks short, with plenty of breaks and chance to move around etc. - I've also found a lot of useful info and tips in the ADDitude website. He's also been trying medication during the school day and that seems to be helping him stay focussed for longer.

He's generally very laid back but used to have spectacular tantrums, where he simply struggled to regain control of himself. He simply wasn't able to calm himself down easily. He's able to handle it a lot better now (age 8) and we know the signs when he's starting to struggle with something, and can head it off or help him through it a bit better.

Meerka Tue 09-Dec-14 18:02:00

Hmmm thanks a lot, I'll take a look at that site. Also he's a bit behind so we have quite a bit of homework to do (at six! confused ) so I'll break that up into shorter chunks.

We try distraction when he's heading towards a tantrum .. sometimes it works sometimes not.

the impulsivity thing rings a bell too.

Hopefully age will help too as you say. I was distinctly disappointed that the doctor did not weigh a letter from the teacher and from the sports teacher as well. At least the school are going to work on it.

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