14 Strategies to Help Students Who Have Trouble Working in the Presence of Distractions

Are you looking for strategies to help students who have trouble working in the presence of distractions? If so, keep reading.

1. Praise the learner for functioning properly in the presence of distractions in the classroom: (a) give the learner a concrete reward (e.g., privileges such as leading the line, handing out learning materials, 10 minutes of free time, etc.) or (b) give the learner an informal reward (e.g., praise, handshake, smile, etc.).

2. Converse with the learner to explain (a) what they are doing wrong (e.g., failing to attend, getting out of seat, fighting with a peer, talking, etc.) and (b) what they must be doing (e.g., keeping self-control in the presence of distractions in the classroom).

3. Get the learner to question any directions, explanations, instructions they do not understand.

4. Praise those students in the classroom who function properly in the presence of distractions in the classroom.

5. Praise the learner for functioning properly in the presence of distractions in the classroom based on the duration of time the learner can be successful. As the learner shows success, slowly increase the duration of time required for reinforcement.

6. Draft an agreement with the learner stipulating what behavior is required (e.g., keeping self-control in the presence of distractions in the classroom) and which reinforcement will be implemented when the agreement has been met.

7. Create classroom rules: • Complete every assignment. • Complete assignments quietly. • Remain in your seat. • Finish tasks. • Meet task expectations. Examine rules often. Praise students for following the rules.

8. Connect with parents to disseminate information about the learner’s progress. The parents may reinforce the learner at home for functioning properly in the presence of distractions in the classroom.

9. Select a peer to model functioning properly in the presence of distractions in the classroom for the learner.

10. Assess the distractions in the classroom to ascertain the level of stimuli the learner can respond to appropriately.

11. Minimize distractions to a level at which the learner can successfully function. As the learner shows that they can successfully tolerate the increased levels, slowly let distractions increase.

12. Place the learner so that they experience the least amount of distractions possible.

13. Give the learner a quiet space in which to work, where distractions are reduced. This is used to lessen distracting stimuli, not as a form of punishment.

14. Consider using assistive technology designed to help students to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to concentrate. Click here to view list of assistive technology apps that we recommend.

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