My 5yo seems to have ADHD, no diagnosis. Rather than going for meds, I'm thinking I could teach him to focus with activities like puzzles. Does anyone do this?
Can I teach attention to a child with ADHD?
Couldn't hurt to try though, I suppose, if your kid has time to wait (i.e. isn't miserable or about to start school or something that would demand the ability to pay attention).
I think most kids with adhd can focus on subjects of interest very well. Some get hyper focused. It is much hard to force an interest though when it is not there. Ds's OT encouraged an air cushion to sit on to help ds concentrate at school (kind of helped). We worked with a psychologist on behavior modification. Ds is really good at school with reward systems, which we do not really do at home. Exercise actually helped ds a lot and so has learning to play the cello.
I don't see attention as a learned skill, as much as a issue of neurological maturing. Well, maybe maturing isn't the right word - it implies that a person with ADHD is immature, and that's not at all what I meant. Style? Ability? Innate wiring? There are coping skills/strategies that can be learned to work with/around ADHD. Most adults with ADHD have taught themselves ways to function. Some seem to have grown out of the most obvious symptoms. An occupational therapist can suggest things worth trying. But I don't think you can "teach" focus or attention. At least not directly.
I wanted to pipe up as my perspective on my newly discovered ADD. It's not that I don't have attention skills, it's that I have TOO much attention; I have to pay attention to everything. Focus can be very difficult, unless it's something that I love (for me, sewing, for a child it might be puzzles) and then I can tune everything out.
DS has ADHD and is better able to focus after he has a lot of movement breaks, they do this for him at school, too. At home he'll do a little homework, jump on the couch for a bit, then go back to the homework. The exercise helps him focus. I don't think "practicing" focusing would help. Though we do other things to keep him on track, like visual cues for instructions.
I have a close friend who used biofeedback to help her son train his attention to focus only where he wanted it to go. She did this right before his entry into kindergarten and claims it was very useful. At the time, he was very active, impulsive and scattered and would have fit a diagnosis of ADHD.
Now he is still an active 4rth grader who is gifted and is just now having difficulty again this time with exerting the patience and focus required to sit and read for comprehension. She swears that the homeopathic combo remedy brightspark is helping him manage his attention and his teachers think it is helping too. Personally, I would use a homeopath and get the right remedy prescription, and suggested that to her myself! But, she uses brightspark and is really satisfied with it. And she's a psychologist....
I thought i'd offer this up if you find it useful
here in germany we have an actual therapy to improve attention, it's called "attentioner". it's not so much about focus, but to keep your focus when other things are happening. it's with a little stuffed dragon who disturbs the kids while they do something.
we don't do it, but our ot does focus exercises with dd where she is supposed to do worksheets and there are distractions in the room. she gets points for keeping her focus on the worksheet.
so i guess there are therapies working on the attention. don't know if they actually help though,