This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
How do I help a highly distracted child ??(13 Posts)
Name change as asking for a friend who doesn’t have a mumsnet account.
She is a secondary school teacher and is wondering how to help a highly distracted child. Due to the fact they are easily distracted , they can sometimes become disruptive. How does she help them ?
Do they have any SEN diagnosis?
Very short targets in lesson... Eg "I expect you to do q1 in 3 minutes and I'll be back to check". Praise when target achieved.
Write the time in the margin when they start a task, then hold the child to account when you return.
Some people recommend fidget toys, I'm on the fence tbh.
Sit all the desks in solo desks .( Although thats not really the done thing). Or at least in rows. Helps enormously. Make sure the pupil is face on to the front not sideways, seat them with a wall on one side. (Although one child i know prefered facing the wall away from all the other kids) Reduce the amount of stuff on walls, or at least on the wall that is the same as the wall the whiteboard is on or she teaches from.
Sorry for slow replies as I have to show my friend the replies and she sends me a reply to post for her. Said pupil is usually at the wall. Also it’s hard to give targets when there are 29 other children to help. No SEN is on the school database however, may be undiagnosed but as it’s not diagnosed yet , we cannot treat it as though it is. All tables face the front however this child sits themselves sideways on the chair so it’s hard- I do reprimand them for this though and remind them to face forward. Fidget toys are something I wouldn’t recommend to be honest as they can disrupt others and distract the child more. For example, fidget cubes can be loud and you sometimes have to look at it to know what your doing. If I was to recommend something to fidget with , I’d say your pen (not clicking it) but quietly loving it back and forth as it means you still have equipment to hand and it’s rather quiet and not much thought has to go into it.
It can be anxiety related so anything you can do to make the child feel more comfortable in your class, greet them or speak to them one to one so they feel a bit more safe/grounded around you. My son is hyper vigilant about noises so other children can put him off easily. (not much you can do about this really!) also gentle non shaming reminders and short targets. If you start punishing /putting on the black cloud etc you are likely to get a downward spiral.
Is it possible for teachers to flag up about an assessment/diagnosis process? If the child's distraction is so extreme it seems investigation is merited.
Also it’s hard to give targets when there are 29 other children to help.
Yes, but managing this one effectively will make it easier to teach the rest!
There can be some fiddle toys that aren’t as distracting as what you’ve described. A piece of blue tac while they’re listening to whole class input. A wobbly board for his feet when he’s working could help.
The best person to talk to is your school senco.
No SEN is on the school database however, may be undiagnosed but as it’s not diagnosed yet , we cannot treat it as though it is.
I don’t understand this at all. Why not try out a few things and see if they help? You don’t need a diagnosis for that.
Seem to have lost a post.
Getting an SEN diagnosis is a process often years long with much reliance on school questionnaires /views. She should check SEN policy. If the child seems unable to help the behaviour it may well be a sensory or other issue, they may be finding the environment too overwhelming to concentrate.
I'd recommend blu tac as a quiet fidget toy, facing forwards with a wobble seat or foot stool, or those bands you can place around the legs of the chair?
I also use a fidget toy for input and then a timer for work, then a small movement break, more work with timer, etc. This is for a student with adhd.
We also have an OT session for 15 minutes to start the day which helps focus, but I understand if this isn't possible for your situation.
Teacher needs to be speaking to SENCO about an assessment. Lack of diagnosis doesn't mean there isn't an issue. Strategies that are used with pupils with ADHD will be useful in this case as the pupil is presenting in a similar way.
Short verbal targets are very achievable in a class of 30. I do this all the time for distracted and un motivated pupils.
A visual timer is another good strategy, the pupil can see time going down.
If they are secondary, chat with colleagues who teach the child too and see if they have anything that works.
Parents can help too. A phonecall might uncover things that primary school did to help.
Apparently, in primary school there weren’t many issues however mum disagrees when spoken too as she feels they have always been easily distracted but was not as disruptive which is why they went under the radar. All teachers are having same problem but severity levels depends but the issues are always there and obvious. When I say they get distracted, I don’t mean the odd looking around. It’s constant looking around , staring at nothing, talking to others and much more and I honestly feel bad because they’re not the type of child who loves getting into trouble and taking part in it.
Sit them at the back
Get some elastic round the chair legs so they can forget but not be noticed
Give them a reminder sign - tap on the table for example
Give them a set time to do tasks - but don’t time them as they’ll be distracted with the timer! And if engrossed can work longer
Please login first.