Evaluating Your Child’s Attention
“How bad is bad?”
What’s the big deal about attention? Focusing, shifting, and dividing attention is constantly needed throughout the day. If it’s not a problem for you it will be hard to empathize with a child that struggles with it. If it focused attention does not come naturally, it is often extremely frustrating.
The three main signs of an attention problem are short attention span (instructions need to be repeated), being easily distractible (can’t seem to finish anything since easily distracted), and being impulsive (first says or does something, THEN thinks about it). To be considered a problem, these signs need to be seen more often and be more of a problem than for others the same age with similar distractions. The good news is the more a child’s attention is strengthened, the more successful he/she is in and out of school resulting in better grades and other signs of success.
The reason to have your child’s attention evaluated (which should be child-friendly, not miserable) is to know what to focus on when strengthening it. There are various ways of testing attention. At Total Learning Centers, we gather then fit together the following puzzle pieces to give you a clear picture of your child’s attention strengths and needs:
- An IQ test to give you exact scores related to thinking and attention.
- Interview with parents (and possibly other relatives like grandparents and siblings).
- Parent and teacher questionnaires about the child’s attention.
- Observations of the child during the evaluation.
- Interview with the child.
- Review of school records.
- Educational achievement testing.
- A “continuous performance test” which is a test of attention using a computer in order to make the evaluation as accurate and objective as possible
- Review of any recent pediatric examinations to check for medical conditions that might relate to attention problems.
- Other areas of testing might be suggested such as vision, hearing, and/or speech and language.
If your child’s “paying attention” needs to seem more complex than you can figure out, much less handle on your own, just call for help from professionals who can create with you an organized way to help that fits your child’s needs, your busy schedule, etc.