Improving Concentration

How to improve your autistic child’s concentration

Improving your autistic child’s concentration is the next step after you have established his visual schedule.

Concentration is the intense attention used in learning a task, and the ability to ignore other distractions in the environment.

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To improve your autistic child’s concentration, you need to follow these simple steps:

  1. Eliminate distractions. I make sure that I put away anything that will distract my son’s attention before we start an activity.
  2. Ensure eye contact when giving instructions. I always maintain eye contact to John to enable him to simulate what I’m doing. This should be consistent for him to continue maintaining his eye contact.
  3. Break instructions into simple steps and don’t give too many at one given time. I always give brief instructions to John when we are doing an activity so he could understand what I am saying.  I use a visual aid for support.
  4. Talk to your child in a soft, calm voice. John doesn’t want loud noises, so when I talk to him I make sure that my voice is not loud for him to hear and doesn’t sound restricted and firm.
  5. Make the activity as motivating as possible. I’m trying to encourage John all the time when we are doing an activity by breaking it into achievable steps then allowing John to have a short rest period between each step. I use a reward sticker for every step he has accomplished. This will further encourage him to concentrate and complete the whole tasks.
  6. Alternate active activities with sitting and concentration skills. If John and I have a playtime activity in the park, I alternate this with an activity that requires concentration at home. I used PECS in our home activity.
  7. Once we established an activity, we moved alternately between difficult and easy tasks. I utilised a visual schedule to keep John on task. It is a reminder for what steps of the task are required and for how long he needs to concentrate.
  8. Use verbal prompts or touch prompts to gain attention. I always do this to John so he won’t lose focus.
  9. Find activities that your child will really enjoy and mixed these with the not so legobrick-685015_640enjoyable. Enjoyment of a task will lead to motivation to stick with it longer. John enjoys playing lego and playdough. These are also good in improving his fine motor skill development.
  10. Have a series of tasks set out and move in an orderly fashion from one to the next. Be prepared to quickly move from one task onto the next if behaviour problems arise from the task being too difficult or easy. I make sure that John doesn’t get bored with any activity that we are doing.
  11. Involve yourself with your child’s game or task at hand and keep him at this puzzles-lyrics-884879_640activity as long as you can without him becoming negative or losing concentration. I always go for an activity that will help John to further develop his concentration. I used lego and floor puzzles for this play activity.
  12. Poor attention may be related to difficulty in completing a task. I always try to make sure to start an activity that is easy to follow before going to the hard ones which John will need more help in concentrating.

By following these simple steps your child’s concentration on a task will improve thus allowing him to do a task, which he will enjoy doing independently.

Using a reward program by giving tangible rewards and utilising positive reinforcements through giving lots of praises to a particular task done is a helpful way of motivating your child to concentrate on a particular task at hand. I will be discussing this further in my next post.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave your comments below and will try to come back to you as soon as I can.

Sincerely,

Adel 🙂

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10 thoughts on “Improving Concentration

  1. Hello Adel,
    The article is very good. My problem with concentration is that my son knows what to do to make things (I give to him the steps to follow) but his head is always thinking on other game or everything else he wants, even with a schedule that he understands very well too. To make the breakfast , for example, he knows the steps, but he takes a very long time to do it because his involved with his thoughts.
    Do you have any other ideas on how I could help my son? Thank you!

    1. Hi,Isabel. How old is your son? My son gets distracted easily when he was little. By breaking instructions into small achievable steps, utilising PECS or visual schedule, engaging in an activity that he likes and taking away distractions that will make his mind wander will help him to improve his concentration skills. It will really take him time to do certain activities but as long as he understands what you are telling him to do, he will gradually improve. You don’t have to rush him. He needs time to concentrate. The same goes with my son. Be consistent and clear at all times. Another way that I think would help your son is to improve his nutrition. This might help you, https://livingwithanautisticchild.com/nutritional-management
      All the best to you and your son! 🙂

  2. Hi Adel, this is a powerful post and will prove to be a great help with those who are struggling to get a child to concentrate for a period of time. Your tips will help parents of any children to settle and get on with a task and I for one would have been grateful for tips like this when my children were younger.

    I have no doubt that life with an autistic child will be challenging and your site will prove to be of great assistance. Thank you for taking the time in your busy life to try and help others 🙂

    Kind regards, Jude.

    1. Thank you, Jude, for visiting and finding my site useful for parents,who are struggling to find ways on how to improve the concentration of their child with autism. Utilising the strategies with patience, persistence and strong determination on the part of the parent will help them succeed in improving their child’s concentration.

  3. Hi Adel, thanks for the tips. I used to tutor a boy who was autistic, for a short period of time and I realised that it was very difficult to get him to focus. I wish I found your article on concentration then.

    I tried removing distractions but did not try using rewards. I think rewards is a great idea and it would have been an encouragement to him. I’m glad I stumbled upon your site and will be bookmarking it for future usage.

    I’m just wondering what are some verbal prompts you use that work well?

    1. It’s good to know that you find my topic about how to improve concentration useful to a child with autism. Offering rewards are a great method of helping children who have problems with concentration especially those on the autistic spectrum and ADHD. Positive reinforcements by acknowledging a particular good behaviour for example, ‘Well done for listening to me” and the use of visual support ( point to your ear or show a picture of an ear which meaning to listen) are helpful to help a child with autism to focus or concentrate on a particular activity. Calling his name and encouraging him to look and listen to you with visual supports works well for my son. You could consider reading my posts on using a reward program, using a visual schedule and encouraging eye contact. The combination of these three methods has helped improve my son’s concentration and behavioural problems. Hope I answered your question. Thank you for visiting my site.

  4. Excellent post here thanks Adel,
    I think the first couple of points especially the elimination of distractions is relevant to any of us!
    You have obviously spent a lot of time and effort perfecting your methods and have found a system which actually works and I appreciate you taking the time to share these methods with us.
    Thanks again, Kris

    1. You are welcome, Kris. I am researching constantly for ways on how I could help my son improve his concentration. Improving his concentration skills had helped him progress a lot. He was able to learn effectively and is now in the process of gaining personal independence. Sharing my experience on how I have improved my son’s concentration will help a lot of parents who are struggling with ways on how to improve the attention and concentration of their child with autism. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.

  5. Hey Adel.

    Thank yourfor this amazing article. I have a family member that is autistic and it is hard work to keep them to concentrate on thing. I will use these and hopefully be able to work with him better.

    All the best.

    Michelle

    1. Thank you, Michelle. This simple step has helped my son a lot to enable him to progress with his attention and concentration. Hope it will help your family member too!

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