to concentrate when ….
have ever been told that your child has attention or
concentration difficulties, there may be several
contributing factors. Early detection and
intervention will help to improve their
low muscle tone:
with low muscle tone have difficulty maintaining an
upright posture when seated at the desk. This will
affect their endurance and stamina, which often
makes them lethargic and “unresponsive” in class.
Children with low muscle tone often wiggle and
fidget in their chair and this can be interpreted as
difficulty processing sensory input:
processing/integration is the child’s ability to
react to stimuli in the environment and inside their
bodies. These senses are touch, taste, body
position, movement, sight, sound and smell.
may over or under respond to certain stimuli.
Children who have sensory processing difficulties
Avoid touching textures – Be unaware of being
dirty or being touched – chew on shirts and pens
Avoid moving/ls unaware of falling – Craves fast
and spinning movement
position: May be rigid and uncoordinated –
Lacks inner drive to move and play – Craves bear
hugs and being squeezed
Gets overexcited with too much to look at –
Ignores objects in visual field and falls over
them – Seeks scenes and screens to stare at
Covers ears to close out sounds – Ignores
ordinary sounds but responds to abnormal sounds
– Welcomes loud noises
Objects to odours others don’t – Doesn’t smell
unpleasant smells – Seeks strong odours
Objects to textures and temperatures of food –
Eats overly spicy food – Licks inedible objects
who are unable to regulate their responses to
stimuli may present with concentration difficulties.
difficulty performing/understanding a task:
who have difficulty understanding a task will find
reasons to leave their desk, eg: constantly go to
teacher’s desk, go to toilet or stand up to sharpen
their pencil. They will avoid tasks that are
difficult for them and this will affect their
tired doing fine motor tasks:
who have difficulty holding their pencils correctly,
press too hard when writing or finding cutting tasks
difficult often “fidget” and “play around” at their
desks. This can be seen as difficulty in
plan and organize an activity:
children find it difficult to get going with an
activity. Others spend excessive time rubbing out,
repeating a task or finding the necessary pencils,
rulers etc to complete a task. Children who have
difficulty with the morning routine independently
often have concentration difficulties.
crossing the middle:
child avoids crossing the midline they will move
their bodies from side to side in their chair, turn
the page/book as they write or draw and have
difficulty working from left to right across the
page. This affects concentration and attention as
the child is constantly moving and not able to focus
on the task.
poor memory skills:
skills are closely linked to concentration skills.
Children who spend too much time playing
technological games, watching TV do not develop
memory skills. They rely on prompts from the screen
or game. Parents may become concerned that their
child knows all the spelling words at home but
forgets them in the test on Friday.
a poor diet:
diets, excessive fast foods, colourants in drinks
and sweets and lack of omega oils in a diet will
affect the child’s ability to concentrate.
routine and discipline and if you have a poor sleep
who have no routine and are allowed to do as they
wish do not adjust well to the rules and regulations
at school and will have difficulties concentrating.
Children, who do not go to bed at regular times
every night, stay up late to watch television or who
have disturbed sleep patterns have difficulty
concentrating in class.
Concentration and attention difficulties can be
influenced by various factors. Discuss your
concerns with your child’s teacher and request the
necessary assistance or referral to a professional.