February 05, 2008,
D.C. asks from Wareham, MA on December 19, 2006
Getting a Child to Focus
My daughter is in 1st grade. She's very smart but is having a little trouble. She is slowly progressing at reading. She can't seem to stay focusing and concentrate. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to keep her focused on her school work and reading. She doesn't have any signs of add/adhd. All the things i seem to find online have to do with that. Which I know for a fact she doesn't have either of them. I'm just trying to look for ways to help her focus in school and on trying to read. She can concentrate on other things. She is also exceptional at math. She just takes her time and gets easily distracted. I know she knows these things I just don't know how to keep her focused. I'm open to any suggestions.
B.R. answers from Springfield on February 05, 2008
My son was having trouble focusing and his teacher recommended using the Brain Gym exercises. You can go to their website to learn more about it. http://www.braingym.org/
C.C. answers from Boston on December 21, 2006
I have taught second grade for the past 3 years and have a lot of experience with seven year olds. I am concerned that there are so many posts here about ADD/ADHD. I wouldn't get alarmed and jump to conclusions about your daughter just yet. Children learn to read at different paces. Your daughter is still in the first grade. The real problem would be mid-second grade, if she couldn't read on grade level. This sounds funny, but for many children, sometime between first and second grades, a reading light-bulb goes on and they begin to pick things up quicker. Many intelligent children (including those with learning disabilities) have trouble concentrating because their minds are constantly going. This does not necessarily mean your child has ADD/ADHD. It is easy to daydream while reading and not concentrate on what is on the page. One of the most important things you can do for your daughter is read together at home. Even just you reading to her can help. Also, find something she is interested in and get books or magazines on that subject. It doesn't matter what she is reading as long as it is age appropriate. She will be more likely to enjoy reading or to concentrate if she is reading about something she likes (I even suggest comic books if she likes them). Also, try to read what she has read and ask her questions about it. THis will build her comprehension skills. Also if she thinks she can discuss the story with mommy afterward, it my help her to concentrate on what she is reading. As for ADD/ADHD and medication, there are some children who need it, but to me, that should be an absolute last resort. I hope this has helped.
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D.R. answers from Boston on December 21, 2006
As a teacher I would say, first and foremost, DO NOT jump the gun and rush out to get an ADD/ADHD diagnosis. Way too many children are on meds. these days to keep them "focused". What people don't realize is THEY ARE CHILDREN! They are expected to sit for long hours and concentrate on things that they have no interest in. Is it very difficult to learn to read, and just as they develop at their own pace, they learn at their own pace as well. There is a lot of pressure on children in school, I know, but I would recommend that you exhaust all options, including tutoring and as much one-on-one and hands on activites as she can get, before you allow anyone to place a label on your child.
Don't get me wrong, there are some children that benefit from medication. ADD/ADHD is a real learning diablity, but I do not feel that it should be the first thing that people assume is going on......give your child a chance to learn at her own pace and help her along as much as possible. She will be fine.
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C.C. answers from Boston on December 20, 2006
Hi D., have you brought this up with her Doc.? I'm and adult with ADHD, and I still have problems concentrating on reading, and I was good at math, so that doesn't mean anything. Math is easier to concentrate on, it's only 1 problem at a time, right. Reading involves comprehension, and remembering everything you read, tough when you have a hard time concentrating. Today, some teachers allow kids to chew gum or hold something in their hand to engage their whole brain as they read, it works, I've tried. Also, girls and boys exhibit different symptoms of ADD/ADHD. Boys tend to be "hyper" and impulsive, girls tend to be "daydreamers" and easily distracted and "busy bodies". Is your daughter being asked to read in class? If not, try the gum at home, she's old enough to understand the point if you explain it to her. Investigate the ADD/ADHD, because the sooner it gets detected the sooner you can bring her relief, believe me when I say this, I know! Good luck.
L.K. answers from Springfield on December 20, 2006
Hi D., I have a child who has ADHD and obviously has difficulty concentrating. When she was in 1st grade, her teacher gave her a "magic" table within the classroom. Placed near the teachers desk, she was away from the other students, but still in the room, she could be closely monitored, and because of the way her teacher presented this table as being her own, she did very well. She also received Title 1 Reading services from the school. It's very important to remove distractions at home too. (TV, radio, etc.)
You might also try a reward system. If she sits and practices in 10-15 minute intervals with you each day, give her a star
for the day. At the end of the week, buy an ice cream cone or make a trip to the park. If they have something to look forward to that appeals to them, they tend to try harder. Have you had her checked for ADD/ADHD? Good luck and I have lots of helpful hints. My daughter is now in 9th grade, maintains an 84 average and is no longer on an IEP. She has completed each school year successfully, but, it's because of early intervention. Write me if I can be of any further help. L.
K.W. answers from Bangor on December 20, 2006
I found some information at this site that I thought would be helpful (although I personally do not have a 7 year old so please forgive me with what I present.. :-D) http://www.chron.com/content/chronicle/features/kids/seve...
~ "Many 7-year-olds and their parents have a surprisingly rocky year."
~ "They often think their teacher is being mean to them."
~ "They may take directions poorly."
~ "Seven-year-olds look big and talk big. But they are still little."
~ "Cathryn C. Powell, who teaches parenting classes for Parents Anonymous, says the age of reason begins with most children at the age of 8 or 9. "You can try to use logic with a 7-year-old," she says, "but 999 out of 1,000 of them really don't get it."
~ Some parents start rushing their 7-year-olds from lesson to lesson and activity to activity. The motion never stops, Sue Thornton, program coordinator for the child-care and development program at North Harris College, says, even on weekends. Slow down, Thornton suggests. Give your kids the gift of time and space."
All of this is to let you know that she is right on track. Help her to stay positive, encourage her, love her like you have been. The site also says this: "Brace yourself for unexpected tears and tantrums. Try not to overreact yourself. The eights are supposed to be easier."
Give yourselves a little more time to adjust. Stay consistent and firm with her and pick your battles. I pray all the best works out for you. I apologize for my lack of experience, but I hope what I've shared has helped.
A.B. answers from Boston on December 20, 2006
Hi D.. I personally went through this in grade school. It wasnt that I couldnt read or that I didnt want to but I just couldnt stay with it. Believe it or not what ended up happening was that I needed glasses! And after talking to the MD I find that it is a very common complaint when one needs glasses. It may be worth getting her eyes checked! Good Luck.
I.R. answers from Springfield on December 20, 2006
I am going through the same thing with my daughter and she is also 7. She is really good with math, but she is just not interested in reading. What we are doing with her is plays. we all sit down and do role playing I'll write out something about how my husband would act and He'd write about how one of the other children would act and so on. she gets really excited on writing her own play about how her brother acts, the catch is that she has to act out some one else's play in the family. She has to read off what we write, we all have fun with it. We keep the story short like 3 to 4 sentences.
I also noticed that in school there are several activities that go on at one time. Like there is a reading section in one corner of the classroom and on the other corner there are kids playing because they finished early, I feel it is very unfair, but I guess we have to teach them to be more focussed so they can get the same rewards as the other children again I feel is unfair. I'm just rambling now, but check out the atmosphere in the classroom maybe there is something distracting her. Or maybe what they are giving her to read just doesn't interest her.
H.W. answers from Providence on December 19, 2006
Does the Wareham school system have tutoring available to their students? If you're not sure, you can contact the counselor at your daughter's school and ask him/her. The counselor should have the contacts to help your daughter receive tutoring through the school (there are tutoring programs that are free to most students in MA public schools). These tutoring programs are not always provided by the school system... These are private and non-profit programs.