Teacher Conference Materials

Strategies for Students With Attention Deficits



Attending in School

 Students with attention deficits find it difficult to attend to tasks, no matter how hard they try to pay attention. These students need a set schedule to follow, with shortened periods of work and an increase in the number of breaks from class work. The following suggestions are given to make the most of the child’s in-class time:

  • Schedule the students’ time.
  • Provide short and frequent breaks from classroom work. Frequency of breaks and length of expected work time varies with the child’s cognitive age and maturity level.  

Stretch breaks, go to the bathroom, get a drink, etc. 2-5 minutes every 30

  • Keep the environment as calm as possible.
  • Insist on order.
  • Seat the students near the teacher, out of the normal traffic pattern. Often a gentle touch on the shoulder can redirect the student.
  • Use dividers to decrease distractions.
  • Avoid stressful situations.
  • Have the students keep a pocket-sized notebook with all assignments written in it.
  • Make sure students’ feet are flat on the floor; adapt chair heights if necessary.
  • Provide the students with chairs with arms for support (support tends to decrease distractibility).
  • Place a non-slip piece of material on students’ chairs. This material will prevent students from slipping and decrease squirming while seated.
  • Give students weighted lap buddy in order to decrease squirming. (See instructions for making a weighted lap buddy.)
  • Allow students to sit or lay on a blanket on the floor during reading time or story time.
  • Beanbag chairs, or stuffed large pillow that provides some support, will help to decreases distractibility. (Beach lounge chair would work)
  • Allow students to use earplugs or headphone sets to decrease auditory distractions.
  • Allow students to wear hats to decrease visual distractions.
  • Extra time or shortened assignments, based on age and grade level, to encourage the student to complete his/her work.
  • Give the assignment in shorter, less overwhelming, segments.
    • Instead of read this three-page story and answer these five questions. Have them read one page and answer one question, read the second page and answer the second and third questions, read the third page and answer the fourth and fifth questions.


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