Pay attention!  Pay attention!  Pay attention! mon

How many times can you tell a kid to pay attention before they finally get the message?  For some parents and teachers, it feels endless.

Having worked with thousands of struggling learners over the years, I recognize that ADHD is a real and sometimes a devastating challenge for families.

 I also know that when a child or teen is struggling in school,
attention is more often than not, a symptom of that challenge.

When the underlying skills that support efficient learning are weak, particularly those skills at the Core Learning and Processing skills levels of the Learning Skills Continuum, it will stress the person’s attention.  A wiggly, distracted, or zoned-out student in the classroom or at the homework table is going to look like a child with an attention problem.
But not all attention problems point to ADHD.  Often times they are simply a symptom of something else – a logical outcome of not being able to do the job.

Here are some examples of attention problems that are NOT rooted in ADHD:

Jeremy wiggles constantly in his chair.  It keeps him from getting his work done and is very distracting to the students sitting near him.  He seems to live his life in “fight or flight” so he looks around constantly and flies off the handle easily.

Retained Primitive Reflexes – YES.

A retained Spinal Galant reflex can cause a child to look like he has “ant’s in his pants” and greatly interferes with memory and attention.  A retained Moro reflex can cause anxiety and fight or flight response, creating a high alert state not conducive to attention in the classroom.

Manny talks to his neighbors all the time instead of doing his work. He puts his energy into “entertaining the class” instead of doing his work.

Dyslexic – YES.

Manny is smart, creative, and really funny.  He’s confused about sounds and letters, and figuring out words is laborious for him.   Sometimes when he looks at the page, the letters look like they’re bumping into each other.  Why bother with something so hard, when he can do something he’s really good at – making everyone laugh!

Sara tries really hard to be “good.”  She sits up tall and looks right at the teacher.  But pretty soon, she’s fiddling with things on her desk or staring straight through the teacher.  When it’s time to start working, Sara always has to ask, “What were we supposed to do?”  Sara is exhausting to her friends because she talks non-stop when she’s not in class.

Auditory Processing problems – YES.

Listening is absolutely exhausting for Sara and after awhile, she’s missed so many little pieces of information that she can’t connect the dots – hence the “Huh? What?” Talking constantly when not in class keeps her from having to listen.

When a student’s attention problems seem most noticeable in relation to the classroom or homework, you may be looking at a symptom of an underlying processing/learning skills weakness.  These underlying skills can be developed so that students can become the confident, attentive, and independent learners they have the potential to be.

DON’T MISS our FREE Back to School Parent Workshop

August 17, 10 – 12 p.m.
at ALL Stowell Learning Centers

Chino – Irvine – Pasadena – Thousand Oaks

Learn helpful techniques to stay organized, avoid homework battles and get the most out of the school year

 Go to for info and RSVP

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