Distractibility makes it difficult for people to inhibit their responses to extraneous,
peripheral, irrelevant stimuli.  Task focus and completion, which rely on screening out
distractions, are significantly compromised.

The grocery store is among the most distractible places on the planet because every
box, carton, can, jar, and bag are packaged to grab our attention.  Containers are
designed with ultimate advertising strategies involving names, words, graphics, font,
color, and product placement to compel us to select them.  Thousands of products
are competing for our purchases as though they are each shouting, "
Buy ME!"  In
response, shoppers put stuff in their carts.  A few aisles later, they look down and
say, "What the ..?!  This isn't on my shopping list."  They remove the items, ditching
them on the nearest shelves.  This is why you find mood candles in with the Kit Kat
bars.  Sometimes, products are left on the floor (and other remarkable places).  It's
a regular job of employees to round up and return the misplaced items to their
original shelves.

Although distractibility is the chief characteristic of learners with attention disorders
and a prominent challenge for most students with learning disabilities, intellectual
disabilities, and other special needs, research tells us that about 20% of children
without disabilities in any given classroom are highly distractible.  Judging from the
photos below, this is true of the adults in any given grocery store, as well.

Find which ones don't belong.  Have fun!
Developed primarily for students with attention disorders, learning disabilities, and intellectual disabilities, these
methods also benefit learners who are developing typically but are highly distractible.

Considering that everyone has difficulty focusing at times, these techniques are expected to support
all children.   
Reduce extraneous stimuli in the classroom
+  avoid clutter
+  arrange the room and seating in ways that promote focus and eye-contact
+  initially minimize distractions; then, allow for incremental, gradual increases in potentially distracting stimuli to
desensitize students in handling the highly distractible "real world"
+  arrange classroom schedules and routines that are reasonably predictable and consistent
+  section the classroom with partitions when groups are at work
+  seat students who are highly distractible away from doors and windows
+  control interruptions
+  establish consistent patterns of learning and conduct
+  provide clear expectations, structure, organization, and routines
+  offer opportunities for choices, exploration, and flexibility
Emphasize relevant stimuli and use varying modes of presentation
+  model on-task behaviors
+  use examples, illustrations, demonstrations, audio-visual aids, and technology
+  provide manipulatives, tangible materials, and hands-on experiences
+  communicate enthusiasm for what is being taught; be creative
+  novel approaches for introductions to lessons will promote student engagement in learning
+  use an "early warning" system for changes to address challenges students may have with transitions
+  encourage parents to provide appropriate study space and schedules at home
+  help students organize their learning materials
+  when possible, arrange activities that allow for movement and alternatives to sitting
Spend shorter periods of time on new, challenging concepts and activities
+  break an hour's worth on instruction into three 20-minute presentations
+  allow for breaks
+  avoid overwhelming students with new information by including practice with  familiar concepts and material
+  for every moment spent on a student's areas of weakness, find a moment to work on her areas of strength
Encourage questions and group interaction/involvement
+  engage students with peers who are appropriate role models
+  use attention-getting and attention maintaining devices
+  try a deck of name cards to avoid calling on the same students or only those who raise their hands
+  check frequently for understanding
+  develop a silent sign students may use to signal comprehension or difficulty
Acknowledge, recognize, and reinforce (reward) attending behavior
+  if we want students to pay attention, we must be prepared to praise on-task behavior, then gradually promote an
internal locus of control by fading out reinforcement
Ignore nonattending behavior if it's not harmful or disruptive
+  rather than call students out for being off task, praise those who are on task
Instructions and directions
+  involve parents
+  maintain eye contact
+  be clear, concise, consistent, complete, and as brief as possible
+  provide engaging, attractive, compelling prompts, guidelines, cures, and models of outcomes
+  be prepared to repeat instructions and directions in a positive, supportive way
+  explain things in a variety of ways for students who don't understand the way you initially explained them
+  welcome students to feel comfortable asking for help
+  novelty sparks interest, attention, and focus
+  encourage active involvement and participation
+  gradually reduce assistance as students take on more responsibility for attending to their work
+  require a daily assignment notebook
+  "buddy systems" promote a sense of belonging; select buddies who are popular with other students
+  peer tutoring
+  monitor often and be supportive
+  give extra time for some tasks; avoid time limits, but expect students to meet deadlines
+  modify homework length
Promoting self-esteem and positively changing attending behavior
+  be calm and positive
+  use natural, logical consequences,
not punishment
+  consistently enforce classroom rules and expectations in a matter-of-fact way
+  avoid references to medication; educators should never recommend that students be on or off medication
+  maintain a zero tolerance policy for bullying; if bullying occurs, get involved
+  provide supervision and encouragement
+  encourage positive "self talk"
+  provide activities that are noncompetitive or mildly competitive
+  encourage students to participate in extra-curricular programs and activities
+  be a mentor
+  be your students' hero
You Down With ADD
do2Learn:  Attention Deficit Disorder
do2Learn:  Attention Deficit Disorder
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Pictures Updated January 23, 2019