Tuning Out Distractions, Zeroing In on School

Children with ADHD experience a lower level of brain arousal, which means they are easily distracted by internal and external stimuli. Use these school and home strategies — like allowing short breaks between assignments and using distraction blockers — to improve focus and comprehension.

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Hypersensitivity to sound could be a sign of auditory processing disorder. ADDitude Magazine

The problem: The ADHD student doesn't seem to be listening or paying attention to class material. He may be daydreaming, looking out the window, or focused on irrelevant noises or other stimuli. As a result, he misses lessons, instructions, and directions.

The reason: ADHD is not just an inability to pay attention — it's an inability to control attention. Children with ADHD have a lower level of brain arousal, which in turn decreases their ability to screen out distractions like noise in the hallway, movement outside, or even their own inner thoughts and feelings. Attention deficit children have an especially hard time tuning out distractions when an activity is not sufficiently stimulating.

The obstacles: Children with ADHD struggle to stay focused on lectures or any tasks that require sustained mental effort. Sometimes, this distractibility can appear intentional and annoying — which then works against ADHD students in getting the help they need. Remarks such as "Earth to Amy!" or "Why don't you ever listen?" will not correct this attention deficit. If children could pay better attention, they would.

Read on to discover classroom and home solutions to end distractibility.

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TAGS: Learn to Focus with ADHD, ADHD Symptoms, ADHD Accommodations, 504s, IEPs, Homework and Test Help, Back to School

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