Thursday, May 3, 2012

Learning to Live When You're Highly Distractable

I don't know if any of my children have ADD or ADHD, but I do know that seeing a task through from start to finish doesn't happen easily for any of them and there are a number of family members who have taken medication to increase their attention spans. Child A is getting much better at it with maturity. Child B and has been learning to cope with it and her focus has improved somewhat, while Child C is oblivious to the need to pay attention to anything for any given time.

Just a few evenings ago, Child B was looking forward to playing a game on loan from the library. She had it in her hand at one moment and it was lost the next. Of course, it was due the next day, so if she didn't find it soon there would be late fees and maybe a replacement fee involved. This poor kid looked everywhere, retracing her steps several time. She even put something of similar size in her hand and retraced her steps to see if there were someplace she had been where it may have been difficult to hold on to it, like climbing up or down the bunk bed. She really put a lot of thought into how it may have been lost. After praying a number of times and fretting herself to sleep, we finally found it mid-morning the following day.

I consider it huge progress in maturity and interest in changing habits when Child B recognizes a problem with her behavior and takes action to change it. Today, she had a DVD in her hand and by the time she reached the player to insert it, she had lost the DVD. This is a regular occurrence in our house, as you can see by the game incident earlier this week. Frequently, she will blame her younger sister for moving whatever it was she lost, but this time she knew it was in her hand and no one took it from her. She still hasn't found it, but found another she wanted to watch in place of it. As she put the case away, she stated aloud, "I'm putting the DVD on top of these other movies. I heard on the radio that if you have trouble remembering where you put things, it helps to say it out loud."

Not only did she hear about a behavior and recognize that she, herself, has the same difficulty, she listened to a recommended solution and decided to try it out. In this instance, it worked. She remembered after putting the case away where she had placed the movie. If you have a child who struggles with learning how to change behavior, you know how much I feel like celebrating!

Do you or your children struggle with paying attention or remembering?
What non-medication techniques have you found to be helpful?


  1. I have these problems ALL THE TIME. I try to use an organizer fairly religiously, which helps a lot, and to set aside a regular time each day to synch the written account with my computerized calendar. Making up songs and rhymes helps, as does making up little ceremonies, celebrations or rituals (sounds so much nicer than routine, but the same idea). Come in the door, wipe my feet, take off shoes HERE, hang coat and bag HERE.

  2. B is such a smart young lady! PS Her DVD incident sounds like her aunt K. I'm notorious for this kind of thing. And I have a child like this but struggle with solutions myself. Kind of like the blind leading the blind.