Instructional and Environmental Strategies for All Learners - Problems with Inattention/Distractibility

Problems with Inattention/Distractibility:
  • Systematically teach student how to attend (square shoulders, lean body forward, and focus eyes on work). 
  • Use mnemonics such as SLANT (sit up, lean forward, ask questions, nod your head, track the teacher) to help them remember the needed behaviors. Seat student in area free from distractions such as open doors, air conditioners, etc. 
  • Keep written assignments and workspace free from distractions 
  • Use study carrel. 
  • Use proximity seating. 
  • Assign a peer tutor. Surround student with appropriate role models. 
  • Use color cues such as neon-colored highlighters to direct student attention to important information, key words, and directions. 
  • Vary presentation of a task. Allow additional time to complete assignments/tests. 
  • Use a digital, silent kitchen timer to help a student who is slow to complete work . 
  • Alternate short work periods with teacher-controlled breaks - have this student be your official pencil sharpener, note-runner. 
  • Break assignments down into shorter segments. 
  • Highlight the number of problems you want the student to complete, provide feedback, then assign the next segment. 
  • Provide "windows" cut from paper or cardboard to expose only one segment at a time. 
  • Use a line or place-marker. 
  • Teach self-monitoring techniques. Have the student set goals for how much of a task they can complete in an allotted time. 
  • Use physical, visual, or auditory signals/cues to redirect student to stay on task. 
  • Use class and individual schedules. Have students check things off as they are completed. 
  • Teach students to highlight operational signs. 
  • Have students work each step in a different color. 
  • Encourage students to subvocalize while working. 
  • Have the student remove all but the material with which he is working from his desk. 
  • Talk slowly. 
  • Give students advance notice (a physical cue, special word) that you will be saying or showing key information.
  • Try not to copy on both sides of the paper. 
  • It is often helpful to use frequent indentations, double spacing, and boxes around key words to provide visual clues. 
  • Use games such as hopscotch math to reinforce concepts. 
  • Change students' environment. 
  • Present material on colored paper. 
  • Block extraneous information on pages to limit distractions. 
  • Provide copies of work that is on the blackboard or textbook. Limit the number of problems that students copy and solve problems.
Additional Links and Resources:

Math VIDS - http://www.coedu.usf.edu/main/departments/sped/ mathvids/index.html 
Adapting Mathematics Instruction in the General Education Classroom for Students with Mathematics Disabilities - http://www.ldonline.org/article/ 5928
Learning Disabilities and Assistive Technology - http://www.gatfl.org/LearningDisabilitiesGuide/tabid/456/Default.aspx 
Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative Assistive Technology - http://www.wati.org/ 
Elementary Math Chart - http://http://www.wati.org/content/ supports/materials/reading/pdf/Math_Chart_elem.pdf 
Middle School Math Chart - http://www.wati.org/content/supports/ materials/reading/pdf/Math_Chart_Mid_Sec.pdf