38 answers

7 Year Old Having Difficulty Focusing/Paying Attention

I am at my wit's end with my 7 year old son. Starting at the end of his 1st grade year in May, he began to have a lot of trouble concentrating on things. At first, he just seemed to be bored with the school year, and then with being home for summer vacation. But now that he's back in school, I have received numerous notes and a phone call from the teacher expressing concern over his lack of attentiveness. She said that he just spaces out completely, and that he has even gotten so distracted that he has fallen out of his seat more than once. She said that he often does not seem to be aware of instructions that she has given him, and that although he does excellent work when he pays attention, she is very concerned that his school work is going to start suffering if he can't snap out of this. Now I have started to notice that he is forgetting everything as well: his notebooks, his school books, his school assignments; you name it, he just can't seem to get it together. He also spaces out at home, but it doesn't seem (although I could be wrong) like he's just tuning us out for the sake of tuning us out. It's like he's just not aware of anything going on around him 99 percent of the time. This behavior is pretty new; he was never like this, that I am aware of, until around May. Today we had our first soccer practice, and he spaced out in the middle of the field. When the coach shouted at him, he became withdrawn and has been pretty spaced out for the rest of the day.

I am very worried about my son, but I don't know what to do. He's scheduled for a physical next month, but I don't want to just medicate him, which I suspect would be the outcome of this discussion with the doctor. We have tried punishments (initially), natural consequences, incentives, earlier bedtime, cut out tv and video games completely, changed his diet, tried to get him more physically active, and if anything he just seems to be getting worse. I would appreciate any input from moms who have experienced any of these problems and how to handle it.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I read this and thought Epilepsy right away. My Aunt had a mild form sounds just like what she went through. She has since outgrown these attacks.

2 moms found this helpful

There are some books in the parenting section of the book store that give you alternate diet suggestions to help with similar problems. It might be a good starting place.

2 moms found this helpful

If he is withdrawing you might want to have him tested for autism as I believe that's one of the symptoms. I would think that if he's spacing out to the point of falling out of a chair that there is something going on other than an attention disorder.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I think that you should take your son in to see his ped asap. I don't want to scare you, but he could be having seizures. People tend to think that seizures are convulsions that are very noticeable, but there are seizures that could cause the symptoms that you describe. My son has ADD, but he never appeared "spaced out", especially to the point of falling out of his chair.

3 moms found this helpful

I could have written you post myself! Our now 19 year old son did great in kindergarten but the second half of first grade he just changes, seemed bored, zoned out, everything you mentioned. We would work for HOURS on homework and he would forget to turn it in, I'd have to run him back to school on a daily basis to get a book he forgot for homework etc, it was horrible. We fought this until 6th grade when I finally got sick of dealing with it and took him to the doctor, I knew something was wrong. They suggested treating him for ADD but we refused unless he was tested. We took him for testing with a wonderful Dr at Vanderbilt and sure enough he was ADD. We started medication and by the end of the year he was a changed child, A honor roll, loved school and did great. His 11 grade year he ask if he could come off the medication, we told him he could but as soon as problems started he would have to go back on. He never had to go back on, graduated High School with honors, got a large scholarship and is in college now doing wonderful! For our son we found he needed a STRONG schedule to stay focused, school, homework, job and girlfriend take up most of his time and he does wonderfully!

3 moms found this helpful

I would definitely stop punishing him for this--it's not something he can help. Make an appointment with the doctor for this coming week. My friend has these exact same symptoms, she started getting them in elementary school. She has a seizure disorder. It causes her to just space out, and it happens more frequently during the day when she is stressed. They are called petit mal seizures, or absence seizures. There are medications that sometimes help. My friend is a successful athlete and a middle school teacher despite having these seizures daily.
Here is a youtube video of a little girl having petit mal seizures.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE6N0Da8Ce0

3 moms found this helpful

A.,
Please move your son's physical exam up ASAP--today, if possible. I work in health care, and this sounds as if it is a physical problem. Epilepsy (petite mal seizures) can present with these symptoms, as can many other physical disorders. Please don't punish your child for this behavior. Get him seen by a doctor now!

3 moms found this helpful

Hi A.,

A friend of ours was experiencing something very similar to what you describe. It turned out that her 5 year old had a lot of fluid in his ears, but was not having ear infections, so they didn't know. All the fluid was causing him to not hear well, so he was zoning out in class and appeared to be not paying attention and acting up. I guess I would start with the simplest explanation of what might me going on and work from there. I'm sure an ENT doc and audiology testing could at least tell you if he is hearing ok.

I hope you resolove the probolem soon!

K.

3 moms found this helpful

I have had similiar things with my five boys and found that after really working hard to get chemicals out of my home it has made a world of difference. My boys are normal children but they seemed to be distracted continually. After much reading and research about these kinds of problems I was convinced that the formaldyhe and pesticides found in the toothpaste, soaps, etc. seemed to cause an increase in the inicidences of this type of behavior as well as other problems. After much research and thinking I decided to take the plunge and just see if the 'experts' knew what they were talking about. Even the teachers indicated that children with these types of problems were on the rise in the last ten years and they mentioned the use of chemicals in our home. I found a web site that has all kinds of information about this and it was helpful to me. I'll give it to you for what it's worth. For us, we found a world of difference in our son's behavior. You might want to explore this:
http://www.ahealthcafe.com/support
I found a lot of useful information there. The change in my boys has been remarkable and I hope you might find some help also. I wish you well in your search to help your son. He is worth the effort!
Song of Praise

3 moms found this helpful

If he is withdrawing you might want to have him tested for autism as I believe that's one of the symptoms. I would think that if he's spacing out to the point of falling out of a chair that there is something going on other than an attention disorder.

2 moms found this helpful

If I could suggest, do you live in an older home? If so, have him lead tested. My son had a very similar issue, and this turned out to be the culprit... and yes, he was at the same age.

2 moms found this helpful

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