Seeking Answers 8 Year Old Wont Pay Attention in Class
March 02, 2008
Mer Rouge, LA
my son goes to a magnet school this year he doesnt pay attention he was put on probabtion last 6 weeks but he did bring it up and get off of it this time.
should i have him tested one teacher suggested it but mom in law says no
And others with children having problems paying attention. I have been an educator for 29 years and raised a truly ADHD child. She has grown into a lovely and responsible young woman. The main theing we did was control diet for sugars and artificial colorring. We removed them all. She was much better but had to learn to deal with frustration when whe couldn't concentrat. Try the diet first. Second actually talk with the child and ask why? Sometimes it is conflict or noise in the room.
I have been through this. First, do not allow a teacher to tell you what you need to do unless they have a PhD. Second, work with the teachers by getting ideas that could help him focus better such as, moving him next to quieter kids, rewarding him with 1 or 2 skittles or m&m's if he does well. Also, try a great chiropractor, healthy diet and health food store alternatives for active kids. For my 8 year old we are working on this but I have been thru the ringer with my now 14 yr old. Whatever you do Do not be bullied by the faculty at the school and never go to a meeting with counselors or teachers alone. Take a spouse, family or friend for support. It is hard to think clearly when you are alone and it is regarding a child you love so much!
A few non medicinal things that each school can provide since you are a tax payer.
You can request a (FBA) functional behavioral assesment to make a (BIP) behavior intervention plan at the time of the request it will not cost you a dime to get him tested academically maybe he is bored may kids are just not pushed enough and they see no reason to follow with monotnous work maybe he needs gifted classed just the same the work may be to had all could be found out with testing and it is required by law to do the testing if the parents both request and consent to the testing many people request but forget to consent and sign the letter with handing those over to the school they have 60 calendar days to complete the results and report them to you..
There is no harm in having him tested. I had my 8 year old tested and although we thought he may have a problem with ADD, it turned out he didn't. So it actually gave us a sigh of relief. I understand your mom-in-law's concerns, but this is your child and you really want what is best for HIM. I am a teacher and I have seen MAJOR improvements with children that really needed medication and got it. It is NOT a bad thing as long as it is truly needed. I do NOT agree with medicating children that do not actually need it though. Be careful and have your pediatrician talk with you about your concerns and the testing. You will feel much better knowing that you have done everything you can to help your child. Hope this helps!
I'm a 26 year old with ADD. I was diagnosed at the age of 8. I think this is a very common time in a childs' life to start seeing problems. I have taken a variety of medication to try and help me. (Ritalin, Cylert, Adderall, etc.) Ever medication I have ever been on caused some kind of a side effect. The Ritalin made me depressed, the cylert gave me hot flashes, and the Adderall was too much of a stimulant. But, I would recommend having him tested. ADD is a very real disorder that can cause so many issues. However, most children diagnosed with it are extremely intelligent. The testing is very simple. I'm not sure that I would recommend starting with medication. But, there are so many simple life changes that might help.
I've taught in an advanced Catholic school for 10 years, I'm betting, even in Magnet school, he's bored. Either the methods of the teacher or the material. He sounds bored. Try making some of the lessons from every day more in depth and practical for him at home. Sometimes if they have no way of making the "material" relevant to their lives, then they can't get excited about it. Coordinate with the teacher's plans, and tweak it at home for him!!
My first thought was he may have ADD but then I thought he may just be bored. My son makes straight A's but his teacher says he daydreams and she frequently has to draw him into what is going on. He is very bored and complains that the work is too easy. With the no child left behind act a son like mine is forced to work in groups with other kids who aren't doing as well so he is never challenged. I say all that to say maybe he is just bored. Good luck!
Just because you have him tested does not mean you have to accept thier recomendations. The school testing is free. Have it done and then realize that it is just one way of looking at your son's issues. If you want a second oppinion you can always pay for additional testing by a local psychologist.
The recommendation from testing is not always medication (which only a dr could prescribe anyway) but there are often MANY behavioral modifications that can be made at school and home to help your son succeed. Don't be afraid of the testing.
BTW/ several posters felt teachers, counselors, principals are not able to diagnose behavior problems in children. Of course they can't make the actual diagnosis, but these professionals work with children all day for years. They are well trained to identify behavior issues. They have worked with other children with similiar behaviors. They should have good advise as to what would possibly be helpful (and that advise should not be to medicate without trying many other options). Perhaps they have encountered some negative teachers, but our teachers are hard working and excellent at educating all types of children.
Have his vision tested by a good optometrist if you haven't done so already. Dr.Tami Ross in OKC is excellent. Her number is ###-###-####. This would be a great first step. You would be surprised how many children have undiagnosed visual issues that greatly affect their behavior and attention span. I have worked in the optometric field for 20 years. A school screening or pediatric screening are NOT enough. They do not cover the necessary tests and are not performed by people who are well trained in the visual functions of the eye.
Dont start looking at ADD until you take care of the basics first. No need to put your child on medication if it only treats the symptoms and not the underlying reason. If you can treat the issue the symptoms will go away. Teachers tried to put my child on meds for 2 years before we had her eyes checked and come to find out she needed glasses even though she wasnt complaining of visual problems. I would've felt terrible had I put on on unneccessary meds all that time...
Why not get him evaluated? At least then you'd know what is going on with him. If you're concerned about "labels", take him to your pediatrician for evaluation rather than having the school do it. Then even if he receives a diagnosis, you don't have to share that information with the school. Personally, I'd rather my child have the label "ADHD" than the self-esteem issues associated with the label "failure". Also, as the parent, you make the final decision on whether he uses medications to assist with his attention difficulties. Pharmceutical intervention is not a "given". There are other things you could try that would be helpful.
You cannot listen to your mother-in-law. I have a son who is 16 yrs old and was told when he was in second grade that he "isn't with us, he needs to be tested and he needs to be on something" Well, I did have him tested and he tried 2-3 meds for ADD. Which by the way,he does have, not the hyperactivity part just innattentive. He was on meds for the rest of 2nd grade until he took his 4th grade LEAP. I read every book and website I could get my hands on and decided that I would take him off the meds and let changed his diet some(more protein, less carbs and refined sugars) and talk w/ his teachers and as long as the teacher is willing to sit him at the front of the class and walk over towards him occasionally to draw his attention back he will do ok. My sons grades weren't really that bad so I decided I could handle B's and C's.
What is your mom-in-law for not wanting your son tested. Also what is the reason your son teacher suggest it. Base on the answers to the two question , you will be able to found out what to do. If your mom-in-law is just wanting to kept any spot of the family , and the teacher has real reason for beliving this is best for you son, I think I would have him tested, if there is a problem he can be handed and if not your mind can rest.
You need to see his medical doctor and let him prescribe the correct medicine for him to take. That will help him focus. I am Ethan's grandmother and I live with him, his mother (my daughter) and his sister. We didn't believe that there could ever be anything wrong with him, but we found that he has an Attention deficiency problem. The medicine that the doctor prescribed him tremendously!
Please - whatever you do - see the doctor!
When my son was in Kindergarten he had issues with paying attention as well, althou he only went for half a day they wanted to hold him back and put him on medicine. We allowed him to go on to the first grade, but ended up holding him back in the First grade. It was the best thing we ever did! He just wasn't mature enough to handle it. Later in 2nd grade it was suggested again that he be put on medicine for Attention Deficit. We adamently said NO and glad we did. He got ahold of the RIGHT teacher later on and excelled. He was simply bored and needed challenging. I am just telling you my experience but one question I'd ask myself. Can he do anything for hours and stick with it? If so then testing/medicine is not always the answer. There may be something else going on. My son could sit for hours and mastered video games. He is now 23 and very bright and sharp and at college now. He is a computer whiz and is very technically oriented thus he is EVER busy, he just never stops.
There can be many reasons for the distractions. Before medication, there are so many areas to check into. First physical issues such as having his vision, hearing, speech, allergies, or related areas assessed. These can contribute to inattentiveness. (Allergy medications of course can cause drowsiness.) If he is having difficulties in his subjects at school. When children don't catch on as quickly or easily as they think they should, sometimes they withdraw or become disinterested they find a way to exclude themselves from activities thus not paying attention. Talk daily with him about these areas in school. Be careful not to criticize but hear him out see his side try to understand where he's coming from and try to find solutions. Find areas of strength and capitalize on them. Let him know he is smart and you are going to make sure he grows up to be successful, wealthy, and happy. ( to be what God wants him to be!) Another thing you may think silly, but has worked with my boys, and students is that we do possitive affirmations or confessions. Have him repeat each day and before bed example "I am a great reader, I love to read." He may think it's crazy to say something he thinks is untrue, but what we speak about we bring about. (The bible also says to call those things that be not as though they were) Children want to feel secure successfull and loved. He will go so much farther on a good attitude than praise than medication can ever take him. He learns now how to take control and choose to pay attention. Wow didn't mean to write so much. I was in your situation two years ago. We did what I am telling you along with prayer and recomendations from our pediatrician. Another thing watch his sugar intake. Many kids eat a breakfast high in sugar which gives a quick high but then the bottom falls out for the rest of the day. He has no fuel to run on! It was recommended to work with my son and do these things from the end of first grade but not to assess it until entering third grade. I saw improvement entering third grade, but it was after Christmas of that year that I saw great improvement. He does his homework on his own (without being told several times, he can read for 20 -40 minutes at a time regularly because he like, loves to read!!God bless
if there's an ADHD problem the doctor has to diagnosis it, not the school. The school can test for learning difficulties and learning disabilities.
BTW just so you know, it's all considered ADHD now. No more ADD classifications or diagnoses.... It's ADHD non hyperactive if they say he doesn't have the hyperactive component.
He also may just be bored.
To learn more about ADHD, contact your state's Parent Training and Information Center and your Family to Family Health Information center. These programs are funded by the US Department of Education and the US Health Resources and Services Administration. Their assistance to families is fre of charge.
I am a parent of an 8 yr old son with ADHD. Some symptoms of ADHD is having a short attention span, some outburts in class, not being able to stay in his/her seat, fidgity, and unable to concentrate with surrounding noise. If that is what your son is having trouble with then I suggest that you have him tested as well. Being a mother and a teacher helped me to realize what was going on with my son. Eventhough, my husband didn't want to know the facts concering this, I still had to go on and do what needed to be done; which was to have our son tested. So don't give in to what you mother in law says. Go on what you THINK and BELIEVE is RIGHT for your son! Please, don't make your son suffer with this!!! I cannot stress that enough to you. You never know what's going on with him. The reason that I say that is because, your son may want to do what he know is right, but because he can't control whats going on with himself, he just simply can't! So please, please just give it some STRONG consideration about having him tested!!!! My son is also making A's & B's (Honor Roll). Take care and be blessed!!!!
First of all--Magnet school?? I find it interesting that this is the first year he has shoed signs of not paying attention-- Does this school offer enough interests for him, challenges to keep him involved--That would be my first goal is to check into the school and what his day is about. If you find the answer to be yes- in all areas, tehn testing is probably a good idea--however I warn you that many docs find it an easy cure all to put a kid on meds today--Be sure there is not something else going on forst--Is he hanging out with new friends? changes in moods? etc. Edwin Fair and Circle of Care in Ponca are great!!!
Last year my 9 year old son had the same issue. After much prayer, my husband and I used the following:
1) We spoke with his teacher and asked if he could use a small soft ball (nerf balls are great)to squeeze during times when he struggled to pay attention.
2) We changed his diet and focused on low-sugar snacks & cereals.
3) We played our version of the quiet game every day right after dinner. Everyone in the family sits perfectly still for 10-15 minutes.
By the end of the school year, we did not have any issues.
My son is now 10yrs old and when he was 8 we had some of the same problems. He was also disruptive in most all classes. Come to find out my son was just getting bored and needed some consequences to get back on track. You also need to talk to him about how he feels about his teacher?? Our son switched classes and showed a lot of improvement from that alone. We had our son tested and the counselor just laughed after she finished and said that teachers don't realize how manipulative kids can be. Best of luck to you and your family. Believe it or not, it probably bothers your son as much or more than it does you. I will be praying for you!!
Let me say I have a 10 year old who also does not "pay attention" in class. I have had difficulties with her in school the last three years. she is getting better though.
As far as getting him tested- my father is a school teacher. your sons teacher is not in anyway qualified to suggest that your chid has ADHD, unless of course they have a PHD in phsycology. My daughters school tried to tell me my daughter was ADHD but neither the teachers the councelors nor the principal at school is qualified in any way to make that determination.
I have started giving all 3 of my children Noregian omega three fatty acids. Its codliver oil flavored with orange( you can get it at wally world). It seems to be helping quite a bit. You can get him tested if you choose to, on your terms, not theirs. But I would not do it just to medicate him.
the teacher is a better person to listen to she deals with kids constantly and knows what to look for where your mother in law is just trying to look out for your son she is also looking a this is the wrong way... you need to do anything that can better enable him to learn with no interruptions... i work for a school district and we have a lot of kids that need extra help whether it be a different way of learning or add medicine... i think you already know you schould go ahead and have him tested you just aren't wanting to go against your mother in law... you have to do what is best for your child.. no matter what anyone thinks
We had a similar issue with one of my boys when he was in the 3rd grade. we had someone who "tested" him privately...he didn't know what we were doing and then she sat in the back of the class several days and just watched him....none of the kids knew why she was there...she was just a "visitor". what they concluded was that he is an auditory learner....he would be looking under his desk, out the window, etc but when the teacher asked him a question he could answer her immediately. dont' know if that's any help or not....but thought i would offer becuase kids learn differently....and he wasn't disrupting anyone else in the process....R.
T. your son may know the work and he is bored they should try and put him at a higher level and see what happens. Or it could be a stage he is going through I went through it with my son he was the same way.
Have him tested. I work in a psychologist office and kids I have tested you would never think had anything going on except "being a kid" shows signs of ADD/ADHD. Many people are against meds but it can be a wonderful thing. I have seen it. Does mother in law have to know everything?
Teach him how to pay attention at home so that he will learn it belongs in both places. I had mine sit half an hour a day and look at a book, watch a video, draw or anything that involved concentration and then we talked about it so I could see what they discerned from it. They weren't allowed to talk during this half hour unless it was an emergency. This was just long enough but not too long and by discussing what they did during this time we had precious time together and I learned what their level of concentration was. They also found great joy in telling me what they had learned. It started off slowly, 5, 10,then 15 minutes until it worked up to half an hour and they actually looked forward to their concentration exercise daily and our discussion afterward. Paying attention is important at home as well as at school. Hope this works for you
My son is 11 and his father and I are divorced. My ex-husband has custody. Every teacher my son has had has recommended that my son be tested, but my ex-husband refuses based on the "label" that will be put upon him if he is diagnosed with ADHD (without hyperactivity). My feelings are this. You love your son and want to the very best for him. If his grades fall (like my son's have) his self-esteem will go down with it. I keep telling my ex-husband that he is trading one "label" for another. Either my child is ADHD or he does poorly in school. If you get your son tested, you can see what you are working with and after the diagnosis if you aren't comfortable with the recommended treatment, then you can go to another dr. who will be open to exploring other alternatives that you CAN live with. Bottom line, you want to give your child all of the tools that you can to help him be and do his very best and you want him happy-I would have him tested so you know once and for all.
As a teacher and mom of three my advice would be to talk to your son first. Ask why he's not paying attention. Does he have trouble seeing? hearing? Is he bored because he understands already? Is he having trouble understanding? Is there one particular subject that he likes or dislikes more than others? Talk to the teacher and see if there is a particular subject that he seems more engaged in or less engaged in. Limit his tv and video game time and start doing "sit-time" with him. "Sit-Time" is a period of time when everyone in the house sits quietly and does quiet activities by themselves. Do activities like read, color, put together legos, etc. You can not get up from your chair and you have to be quiet. Start with a short period of time and work up to 30 minutes over a 3-4 week period. If your son is not able to do "sit-time" or you don'd discover some other simple problem then you might start thinking about testing. It will probably turn out that he is just a very normal 8 year old boy who has to begin practicing self-discipline just like you practice for anything else you want to learn.
most definately get him tested. you don't know what is wrong right now. he could be advanced therefore he is bored, or he is confused and puts up a wall so he won't feel like he is the only one so if he acts up maybe others will be just like him. maybe he is scared and doesn't know how to stop and ask for help so the only way is to act up. Finally, he may have A.D.D. (attention deficit disorder). The only way to find out is to get him tested. Ask your pediatrician and he can recommend something. MIL may be stuck in the old school and feels if it ain't broke don't fix it. Does your child live with her, I doubt it so she doesn't see this day in and day out. (had this experience with my son and MIL) But please don't let it go. If he does have ADD it can be helped and you and your child can learn how to live with it. If not he'll have to deal with so many troubles in life. Good Luck and God Bless, M. t. LPN
Before having your child tested and labeled please have a complete chemical profile done. There is an excellent Dr. in Baton Rouge - she is rather expensive but you will get the answers you need. Her name is Dr. Stephanie Cave. You may also want to have him evaluated by a Developmental Optometrist ( diffrernt from a regular eye doctor or surgeon) Believe it or not behavior and attention problems can actually be caused by vision problems. You can have 20/20 eyesight and still have vision problems. The only one in this area that I know of is also in Baton Rouge - her name is Dr. Susan Jong.
Yes Have him tested. I say this for 2 reasons.
First so you will know the truth-If he had Add or a learning disability then you need to know to help him.
Second -to get the teacher off your back. You do not want your child labeled by the suspicions of a teacher.
I say this from experience. Last year my son's(8 years old) teacher and Vice principle both brought me into the office midterm asking for him to be tested. We did and nothing was found to be wrong. Once the teacher was made aware of this wala no more notes and his grades went up. Coincidence, I think not. Doing excellently with no behavior problems this year too.
If your child is diagnosed with ADD there are other forms of treatment besides medication. If he has a learning disability then there are resources for him.
Make sure he gets the full spectrum of testing not just the ADD form.
Hasd his hearing been tested? A friend of mine has a daughter who was hit in the side of her head at recess with a ball. then later appearred to not be listening where she was a very good student before. It was two yrs before it was discovered she had a hearing loss and could not hear. Just thought I should make this suggestion.
I would say you have nothing to lose by testing. He may be a gifted child and is bored in class and needs more advanced studies beyond his current grade or he may need to go slower. Either way is just fine and then you will know if it is a learning issue that is causing him to not pay attention or a behavior/discipline matter. The teachers are with them on a continuous basis and the tests will give you the answers you are looking for. Good luck!
I am a mother of 5 children now all in there teens. I have 2 boys with severe special needs and what I can tell you from 15 years of experience is that regular classroom teachers are not educated on special needs. Once you have your child tested by the school system and he is labeled he will carry that label around with him the rest of his life....whether it is accurate or not!!!! you would be better off to do first some of the other things suggested like the vision and hearing and such. I would also recommend you check out www.nacd.org it is an incredible organiztion with answers that make sense that you won't get from anywhere else.
When you say tested do you mean for ADD or for what? I had to respond, I too was a child who did not pay attention in class...I did not have ADD but we figured out that I was not being challenged enough and I had to go to several tutors before we figured it out...I could do the work at home but when I was at school I felt that there was something else I could be doing, so the teacher came up with things for me to do...I.E. help grade papers, erase the chalk board, but only if I finished my work...that way I was always busy doing something...
and I must say...if you close to mom-in-law she must want the best for you and your child...you know that something must be done to help YOUR child....there are ways to get around the in-law because usually they just don't want to admit that someone they love may need a bit extra help..so do what you want to and what will help your son...don't let the in-law opionion run your decisions...just my opionion I mean nothing by that..
Have him tested, don't wait another day. Imagine how he must feel. My son struggled for a year and a half before I could have him tested due to Hurricane Katrina. He felt he was just dumb and couldn't do it. Now, we has a name for it...ADHD. He isn't hyper but just couldn't focus and was very eaisley distracted. He made honor roll for the first time last 9 weeks. He is VERY proud of himself.... and so are we:)
ADD does not just show up in middle school. It is inherited and children who truly have this are born with it. You notice the signals by the time they are 2. ADD and ADHD affect 7 areas of the brain so no two children are alike. It can cause language processing problems that make it hard for the children to communicate and makes it hard to learn to read and develop larger vocabularies. Or it can affect behavior that looks like daydreaming or implusivity that brings out behavior tantrums we don't understand the cause of. Depression can be another severe characteristic. I have raised two children with this and they were affected in two totally different ways. Since you have not had this problem before, I would sincerely doubt that ADD or ADHD is the problem. I would definitely go with the vision and hearing tests, check with the teachers to see if they are providing any minor interventions your child may need, or are they providing enough challenges to keep the child from being bored. Good luck and God bless...
You should ABSOLUTELY have him tested. AND ADHD has 3TYPES. Not just the HYPERACTIVE type most people know about. It is important to get him tested for Hyperactive, Inattentive and Combined type. The Psychologist will make that determination as to which to test first. Also if it is present the severity will indicate the type of treatment and not all ADHD will require medications... much can be treated with CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Treatment). Also it is wise to have him tested while he is young as diagnosing gets harder with age. And a professional , namely a pyschologist who is licensed to admister the testing will explain that they can not find something that is not there. Keep in mind that your insurance may not cover the testing and it can initially be costly. Feel free to message me and I will give you suggestions on affordable treatment if this is the case. If your son does have any form of ADHD then a treatment plan will be determined. If medications are decided then he would need to see a child psychiatrist for dosing and meds. If behavior modification is the only needed component then treatment with a social worker or the psychologist will help. If none of this is on your insurance ... then you still start this way and transfer to your childs pediatrician once medications are correctly figured. I hope this is not the case for your son as it is an added challenge. Just remember that not all ADHD kids are over energetic and those are the ones that sadly get overlooked and struggle because of it. On the other side of it ... many people unprofessionally label kids that are just normal energetic kids that way. For this reason diagnosing needs to be done with psychological testing by a psychologist and no one else. I hope this helps you and others.
Best luck, M.
I have struggled with this for years with my 12 year old. The first teacher to suggest a problem was his second grade teacher. I loved her, but she was a new, very introverted soft spoken teacher. I knew there was not a problem with him, she was not taking the inititive a seasoned teacher would take telling him to quit daydreaming and get back to work. I did talk to my pediatrician about it, luckily we have a DO and he is totally against medication except in extremem cases. He said that ADD or ADHD transverses all areas, so if he can concentrate on certain activities and not others, it is becasue he is bored.
His 3rd grade teacher was very energetic and kept the classroom alive- he flourished. Then in 4th, he had a teacher on the verge of retirment and had shorttimers disease. She just did not engage the students, so again it was suggested that it was my son's problem and I should get him tested. I of course mentioned that it is out of the scope of practice for a teacher to suggest medical diagnosis, and is on the verge of illegal for her to do so. I suggested practices we do at home when his attention drifts away from chores or homework or scout projects- very simple and it works. Tap him on the shoulder or tap the table and say "hey, whatcha workin on" AMAZING results- he gets back to work!
So then we moved to middle school. We had moved, so there were no students he knew. It was hard for him, but the hardest part was one of his algebra teacher. SHe was going through personal tragedy, her husband had been diagnosied with terminal cancer. She was gone 3+ days each week, yet it was Devin's problem he could not keep up. He is advanced in math, always has been. So he had skipped 6th grade math and was in a 7th grade class. In a conference she told us how her son excelled after being put on ritalin and devin would benefit from the same. (That was actually illegal to suggest)I told her my feelings as I had told all the other teachers up until this time. She told me I was an irresponsible parent ot not get him tested. None of his other teachers aggreed. I ended up taking him to our Pediatrician again, he wrote a report and gave me the paperwork to file with the school for a due process(?) hearing to test the teacher's classroom practices to make sure she was engaging learners of different styles. (It is their responsibilty by the way). Needless to say, the principal was not happy about the situation and it was remidied.
I know this is long, but my point is- YOU know your son. IF you thought he had a problem you would do whatever you can to fix it. Do you see those tendencies in him? It is hard going to a new school, because everything is new. Has he always been curious and maybe is just "checking everythign out?" Whatever you decide, medication is never a substitute for good parents, good educators and good nutrician. Good Luck!
Your child could be just bored in class. Sometimes when kids already know the material they act out. It could also be that he felt he was so far behind why bother with paying attention. You may want to get him evaluated on his reading level. If all else fails, then I would try to get him tested for add.
I would look up any information I can about Immaturity and ADD. Try the internet. When I was in college I learned that the symptoms can Mimic each other. You know your child best. Some children really have this problem others do not and it is easier to put them on meds then deal with their problems. I have a friend who put her daughter on the meds because a medical doctor said it was necessary and then friend of hers at the school called her and told her that her daughter was like a zombie. She took her off and everything has been fine since. So first off check out the differences and see what your child exhibits most and then if neccessary take him to a child counselor who can let you know more than a medical doctor. Chances are that he is just a little immature and that the kids in the magnet school are more mature. Good Luck