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How do you engage seriously innattentive pupil?

Discussion in 'Scotland - Primary' started by VelmaDinckley, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Hi mydoll
    Sounds like some form of attention deficit to me and I have had children with similar difficulties. What is SMT doing to help and advise? What about SfL staff? Also, what about support from parents?
    Is he choosing to ignore repeated requests to respond or is he unable to? (a hearing difficulty perhaps?) A fidget toy was a good idea - I've tried that on occasions, some with success, some not.
    There are assessments you can get online to determine for yourself if he has ADHD or not. In my LA, we are able to access these but you may need parental permission. Another option would be to refer to Speech and Language - they can identify various difficulties.
    Also, if he's struggling to sit still in his chair and if his handwriting is poor, then a referral to OT might be useful as it sounds as though his gross/fine motor skills need work.
    Obviously, none of these help you in the classroom (and you may have explored all of these already). What about a behaviour/target sheet? Visual timetable?
    Hope some of this helps!
  2. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    If I understand you correctly, you are concerned because his general ability does not appear to match his performance and behaviour in class, or your previous experience of low ablility pupils.
    I would check through previous progress reports, if you have not already done this, and get as much input as possible from previous teachers, the Learning Support teacher and senior staff.
    Although you say he has no identified syndrome, has there been any previous involvement of psychological services or occupational therapy? Has he been referred by the HT to the school medical officer? There may be information in his medical records which could in part explain his behaviour and, whilst the school doctor will not be able to discuss this with you, it could lead to further investigations.
    The 'huge spidery script + poor letter formation' does suggest that fine motor control could be an issue and the LST / OT should be able to advise on activities that might help develop this skill. I can picture quite a few children (mainly boys) who prefer to kneel or have one leg through the back of the chair. Along with the other things you mention this does suggest physical maturity issues. They feel more comfortable kneeling (and moving about) which may be linked to reflex development in early childhood.
    Not responding to his name when addressed several times may simply be him screening out what he doesn't want to hear but, then again, it could be a hearing issue. Has his hearing been tested recently? With colds etc children's ability to hear can vary. If you have not already done so, have a friendly chat with the parent/s to see if they also have to tell him to do things several times before he responds - if at all.
    The grinning and looking around during class/group lessons does suggest attention seeking behaviour. It can also be a tactic to avoid doing the work in hand (especially if he finds it difficult) and to distract others from doing the work as well. However, he appears to be of average intelligence so you could try to find out if he has any particular interests.
    Set up a situation in which he can be the centre of attention and share his knowledge, or interest, with the rest of the group or class. Of course, he may try to be silly and feel uncomfortable when he gets attention or he may enjoy the experience of his contribution being 'valued'. At the very least it will give you an insight into his behaviour and he may learn why it is important, and courteous, to pay attention when someone else is speaking.
    On a practical level, it might help to give him very specific, short term targets to complete so that he is less likely to get distracted or distract others. If he doesn't have an audience he may find it easier to focus so positioning in the class or group may help, although that is easier said than done.
    Most children like to be the centre of attention and they respond well to praise. However, some children with behaviour difficulties find it very difficult to accept praise. They are so used to being in trouble and getting told off, that is the personal identity with which they are 'comfortable'. Being praised doesn't fit with their personal identity. It can be a difficult cycle to break.
    Hopefully some of this may help. Good luck.

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