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Featured question for those with trouble with being distracted

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Pats, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    My grandson is in first grade and not doing too well. He keeps being disciplined (not physically) because he's always distracted. Teacher says he knows the information but he can't stay focused even long enough to finish a sentence.

    He hasn't been diagnosed - son in law refused to discuss it, but maybe he's beginning to see that maybe they need to. I told my daughter that this is not something she can handle herself or fix herself and also that it was not a disciplinary problem.
    I know he's going to need some extra help with this kind of thing and my daughter agrees. She plans on discussing it at his next Doctor appointment coming up soon. But my question is for some ideas of what helps you stay focused.

    I hardly remember first grade, except the teacher constantly having me at her desk trying to teach me the sounds of the alphabet - which, I'm sure is the one that recommended speech therapy so I would learn to talk. Anyway, through school, I daydreamed all the time, but it wasn't a problem. Sure there were notes on my report cards about not paying attention, not participating, etc, but that's as far as it went and nothing was ever done. But autism wasn't a thing. Now it's known about and kids can actually be helped and my grandson needs help. Any personal suggestions for helping him learn to keep his thoughts on track?
     
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  2. Mary Terry

    Mary Terry Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Ms Pats - please try to get him diagnosed so he can get professional help. Meanwhile, can you spend time with him on a regular basis to help him? Maybe read books to him, help him learn the alphabet and start learning how to read, make things out of clay with him, draw or color in a quiet setting while you talk to him, let him help you bake cookies, take a walk alone with him somewhere interesting to him, just doing quiet things alone with him to reduce distractions and stress?

    There is so much stress in the world today that didn't exist or was less pronounced when we were kids. I think it is harder to grow up today than 60+ years ago when I was a child. One of the things I do with my grandchildren is to turn off the TV and the cell phones and just talk and listen to each other.
     
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  3. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi Mary Terry. I appreciate this advice. I live 2 1/2 hours from them so I don't see him as much as I wish I could. My daughter, though, does limit their tv and electronic device time. She's always had story time before bed. In the evening they all go outside. He does know his alphabet and can read. I think it's at school that he has a harder time. I told my daughter he may feel more pressured there. I don't know. But she realizes that he does need professional help, and I guess discussing it with the doctor will be the first step?
     
  4. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I got through it all at the convents because there were no distractions. No noise, silence was the rule and strictly enforced. No talking except when spoken to by sisters, no outside noises, only the teaching sisters were allowed to speak. At recess we were allowed to make noise outside when playing. A somewhat repressive place for an aspie to learn.

    Later that all changed at the public schools, but, the strictures at the convents allowed me to develop a core focus on the schoolwork. When I entered the public school system, there were problems with noise in the hallways, very badly soundproofed classrooms, and outside noises that I could hear. Developed the ability to speed-read and memorize while in class, so that I could focus on that. Rarely did homework or studied, there was no quiet place to concentrate or do schoolwork at home. So I memorized and did well on exams.

    At high school, I cut some classes to study in the library, the quietest place in the entire school. Some teachers didn't care if you didn't attend class, and others took attendance. I read/studied the textbooks, did the work and handed it in, and showed up when there was a quiz or exam. That's how I graduated in the academic subjects. I'm still immediately distracted by noise, have difficulty concentrating.

    I think it might be helpful, to your grandson, to have him in classes with other children. So that he can listen and learn. During the study time, when they have to write or read, he should be given a quiet place to do so. It would help him immensely.
     
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  5. Mary Terry

    Mary Terry Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Aw, too bad he is so far away but his mom sounds like she is on the right path. I don't know about how to get him diagnosed but his pediatrician is a good place to start. Maybe his teacher has some insight? That, of course, depends on the teacher, some are excellent and some are horrible as I'm sure you know!
     
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  6. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    Try music. Something soothing. One of my teachers played Enya on a radio. It was the only time i was at ease.
     
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  7. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    If the problem is related to something like ADD or ADHD, then it could be due to lack of motivation. If a clear reason for completing the work is given then it might be different, such as some sort of reward. It could be anything, whatever works for the particular kid. I work with a few kids with ADHD and their focus is great when a reward is in mind.
     
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  8. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

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    A good idea would be to talk with him directly and tell him it would be a lot easier if he paid attention ,all I cared about was not being noticed and getting out of school ,it didn’t work they still wanted you to participate ,went to a private school( not a publicly funded school ) for a very short period of time ,Still didn’t work still wanted me to participate, I was happy if the subject was what I didn’t feel stressed by !but if it stressed me ,I dreaded the day , do his parents or do you encourage him to read out loud when he’s at home it would help him to feel that school was normal if he did school work at home and spoke about school work I was very stressed about speaking there was no education about autism I only knew about what was called Kanners autism !because I saw the National autism Society school ,near to my secondary school ( publicly funded equivalent high school ),He needs the help of bureaucracy,if the school have an autism diagnosis on paper they have less reason to complain .
     
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  9. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    they do have a reward system and he loses his often, which upsets him a lot. That's why I thought maybe it was stress related.
     
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  10. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes, I think he has more problem while at school. I hated school from day one. He has read to me and excitedly told me about things he's read about (that interest him). He knows his sharks, for instance. :) Geometry - no. I never got geometry down myself. Other maths I did great. And I totally agree he needs help and if he had the diagnosis on paper, it'd make a difference in how he's dealt with.
    Of course, I'm the grandma, so I have a feeling I won't like the teacher's approach. :)
     
  11. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    Oh, yeah, if its ADHD then anything that's at all challenging without being fun will be dismissed very quickly. Does he ever express rage?
     
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  12. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    Since 2013, it has been considerably harder to get a diagnosis in the US. However, you do not need a diagnosis to get help with consoling. You may have to use your insurance or even pay for in yourself, but help is available. I believe that all ASD children should have consoling to help them overcome their weaknesses and to take advantage of their strengths.
     
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  13. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I've never seen rage, but he gets upset and cries. And he does the loud noises.
     
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  14. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    consoling?
     
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  15. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Physical representations helped me when I was a child. Not at school - not sure how it could be helped, I used to do the same while hoping no one asks me anything - but at home. For example, I never remembered to brush my teeth or eat my breakfast or to take my lunch with me to school unless I had a physical reminder. One of my walls used to have them, later also with my own tables for activities for every day of the week. A picture of a brush would make me remember that yes, I haven't washed my teeth yet. A picture of a book would remind me that yes, I haven't done my homework yet. Visual reminders always worked best for me along with a clock in every room. I still use them at times.

    The other day I read about visual supports and I regret that I never had something this advanced. I suppose it takes quite a bit of parents' time to make though. Mine rarely had enough.

    Visual supports - National Autistic Society

    Maybe something like this could calm him down and teach him to focus? If he learns how to focus and remember things at home, he may have an easier time at school.
     
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  16. puzzlingbill

    puzzlingbill Definitely Someone

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    Pats - Talking about your daughter doing story time brought back some great memories.

    Our daughter was in Kindergarten when we read her the Lord of the Rings trilogy for story time - all 3 books, a chapter at a time - it took 5 months. She really enjoyed it, although at that age she couldn't understand everything. She made a bunch of pictures, and we did a presentation for her class where I told a 5-minute version of the story (;)) while she showed the pictures.

    The Phantom Tollboth is another good storytime book because it's all about learning to look at things differently. That can lead to some very interesting conversations.

    There are others of course. A really important thing is that this is bonding without electronic devices.
     
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  17. Major Tom

    Major Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I've had the wandering attention span since I can remember, other than medication for ADD slightly helping, I have yet to find anything to stop it besides splitting wood.
     
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  18. Desertphile

    Desertphile Active Member V.I.P Member

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    Argh. The longer the delay in treatment, the more intervention may be required later. You and your grandson are "lucky" that modern pharmacology is much better when I attended school (where I was constantly punished for behavior I could not control). Perhaps one of his teachers could sit down and discuss the issue with the parents, and urge for medical intervention.
     
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  19. SolarPoweredNightOwl

    SolarPoweredNightOwl Walking contradiction

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    I personally didn't have much trouble focusing unless there were distractions in the environment or the material was insanely boring. As an adult, I've found stimulants can help me focus to an extent, but I don't think it'd be a good idea to pump caffeine or nicotine into a little kid, so that's no help. The only suggestions I have are to make sure any sensory issues are addressed, and to get him evaluated for ADD as well as autism, since the two are often comorbid.

    I'm glad that the kid has supportive family like you, and that you all made sure he can read and write from an early age, it makes a big difference. If my family hadn't done the same for me, I would not have survived.
     
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  20. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think maybe 'consoling' was a typo for 'counselling' in @clg114 s message. I hope your grandson gets some effective support at school, it sounds frustrating for him. To me this sounds like ADHD, and if he gets diagnosed there are ways he can be supported and helped, fingers crossed he has a good doctor. Though sounds like his lack of focus is hard to miss now he's at school.

    Having an understanding family base must be helpful for him, at least people at home are supportive, so he is probably encouraged by that. He sounds like he would benefit from some 1 to 1 time at school, hopefully they have classroom assistants or support workers who may help with this, plus there are medical interventions that may help him focus more.
     
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