Your ADHD Education Guide: Focus & Attention

Expert answers on hyperfocus and distraction in our inattentive kids.

How to help your child with ADHD focus and pay attention in school.
Dear ADDitude: Part 5
Our readers ask: How can we promote focus in our easily-distracted children?



Question 1:

“My 7-year-old is highly distractable and struggles to complete in-class assignments without a teacher or aide sitting with him and guiding him. The incomplete work is piling up. What accommodations can help him learn to better focus on his own?Read the answer.


Question 2:

“My son’s teachers complain that he’s disrupting the class by constantly rocking in his chair, a repetitive behavior that he uses to release energy and self-soothe. I don’t think he should be punished for this, but I’d like to suggest some more subtle replacements for the rocking. Any ideas?” Read the answer.


Question 3:

“One-fourth of my child’s grade is based on his ability to ‘focus for the entire period without reminders to stay on task.’ Since cue-to-focus is an accommodation my child needs due to diagnosed ADHD, this feels like disability discrimination. What can I do?” Read the answer.


Question 4:

“My son is constantly chewing on things; the oral stimulation helps him concentrate. He loves to chew gum, but it isn’t allowed in school. What accommodations might help?” Read the answer.


Question 5:

“My son’s teacher feels that, since he can focus on subjects he likes, it shows he can do it. She feels he chooses when to focus and pay attention.Read the answer.


Question 6:

What specific academic testing (if any) should I request for my daughter, who has inattentive ADHD and problems with attention and organization, but is also twice-exceptional? Is her diagnosis enough to merit a 504 Plan?” Read the answer.


Question 7:

“My 10-year-old is 2 years behind in math and reading because she just can’t focus to learn and complete her work. But she loves art and can stay focused on drawing for hours. How do I get her to give just a little of that focus to academics without using medication?Read the answer.