Please coach me on how to proceed. Ds's teacher mentioned in an email that she is concerned about his trouble focusing in class. She says he seems to zone out during whole-group instruction and thus doesn't know what to do during the independent work. What should I ask her next? What should I think about re: diet, sleep, strategies, etc? I tried to ask him about it, but he clammed up. Please advise!
If receptive language is an issue, something like this can be useful.
Do you see that at home? What happens if you give him instructions on something new - something that takes a few steps? I would first follow up with the teacher in a phone call or in person. Tell her what you see at home. Then take a collaborative approach to figuring out the problem in more detail: Why does she think he might be doing this? Is it for everything, just after lunch, just with math, just when he's sitting next to Johnny?
Where is he relative to the class with respect to general academic skills. Is he ahead or behind?
When you have more information, then you can start thinking things like diet, sleep patterns, or NVLD or ADHD-I like Emmeline mentioned, with the help of a professional.
I would wait it out before assuming its something serious. One of my kid's teacher mentioned that he would space out a lot during certain times, but she also mentioned that this is developmentally appropriate for the age.
I would just ask your son what he is thinking, and ask the teacher to keep an eye on it. He might just be enjoying his own internal world... yk?
How hard is it to get his attention and get him back on task? Does he respond to loud or unexpected responses by the teacher like touching his face or saying his name? Does this happen at a certain time of day or all the time? The teacher's large group method may not be the way your ds learns the best or maybe he is not interested in what is being discussed. It could be many different possibilities besides not being interested. Maybe you should set up a meeting with the teacher to ask what the schools feels woud help you ds and what you should do.