Most students with ADHD do not think about how much attention it takes to complete a task, but recognizing how much concentration is required to complete an activity is invaluable to obtaining good results!
The goal of this activity is to show students how to pay attention and also how to sustain concentration until a task is successfully completed.
To give your child an idea of what it actually means to “pay attention,” use a metaphor such as adjusting the volume dial on a radio. Using a scale such as 1 to 10, develop reference points so that your child has a basis for comparison.
For example, a setting of “1” indicates a person has the volume turned down so low they can’t hear what’s being broadcast. A “10” indicates the person can loudly and clearly hear everything being broadcast.
Paying attention requires that students maintain differing levels of energy for different types of academic tasks. To increase your child’s awareness of the energy needed to perform different academic tasks, first start by using the radio metaphor to help him or her understand the amount of energy needed for various everyday tasks such as brushing teeth and watching a television program.
Have your child think about tasks such as taking a shower, eating dinner, or riding a bicycle, and using the scale of 1 to 10, have him suggest a number that represents the amount of energy needed to complete that task. Keep at it with other tasks until your child gets a good sense of the scale and really begins to understand that some tasks take longer and require more energy than other tasks.
Next, have your child apply the technique to academic tasks such as reading a section in a textbook or studying for a test. Have your child write down her estimate of the amount of attention needed to perform the task. Share your estimates as well.
Try having your child write down the amount of attention she spent on the task the last time she performed it and the grade she received! Help her compare the energy expended to the results she obtained and notice how well the outcome matched the effort expended.
If necessary, discuss ways to increase the amount of attention needed in order to perform better on the task next time. If distractions get in the way of paying attention, try the Bracketing Distracting Thoughts technique.