Reply To: How to help my son focus and complete work in school

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Your first question was, “1. advice to keep him focused at school.” The time the teacher gives to write 3 sentences is a very small part of the day. The bigger question is, does he have trouble focusing during other parts of the day. For example, how is he doing at math? There are lots of techniques – like fidgeting, moving, etc that can help with focus. But if he really is having trouble focusing for more then the 10 or so minutes given for this assignment….You probably should talk to his doctor about his medication. Intuniv is a great med and many times is given at night in conjunction with a stim med during the day. Intuniv really does not help with focus that much. I think that is the issue that you really need to discuss, as this problem will probably only get worse.

In terms of his writing. Get your hands on some of the old topics and practice with them. But try having him draw his thoughts out or try turning the assignment into a video game which he writes about. See if the teacher will simply allow him to complete the assignment at home, if he has drawn out some ideas. But practice this at home. It should be pretty easy to get him to be able to do some “canned” results.

But, after 37 years in education at the elementary and middle school level, I think there is something else going on here. Not writing 3 sentences in a journal is not worth telling parents he needs to be disciplined at home. And by the way, if this is the only writing they are doing…..well, thats a different story. Do get more info from the teacher about what is going on at school. And ask your son. How does he feel about school? As a 5th grade teacher (and well, as a principal too) I saw kids begin to fall apart about 4th grade because their innate intelligence could no longer keep up with the subject matter. And that was usually due to the inability to concentrate.