How Can I Help Students with ADHD to Visually Focus?

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HowcanIhelpstudentswithADHDtovisuallyfocusStudents with ADHD often have weak visual focus and weak muscles in the eyes can also make visual focus more difficult.

When eyes focus, they usually lead the ears to focus. This is why we often want students to look at us when giving instruction.

For younger students, try to get to their level and look them in the eye when speaking. For older students, ask them to look at you when speaking and stop speaking if they look away. When eyes drift, listening and minds drift.

To strengthen eye muscles, some classrooms do eye calisthenics like the ones suggested below to prepare for reading, writing and math work.

Eye Push Ups

1. Hold thumb up 8 to 12 inches from the nose. Focus on the thumb and see one thumb.`

2. Slowly push the thumb away from the face to arm’s length.

3. Slowly bring the thumb back toward the nose until it is again 8 to 12 inches away.

4. Repeat 3 to 12 times. Stop if uncomfortable.

Look Through My Thumb

1. Hold the thumb up 8 to 12 inches from the nose. Focus on the thumb and see one thumb. Student holds for 7 to 15 seconds.

2. The coach names someone or something in the environment. The student looks through the thumb to focus on the distant person or object. The student will now see two thumbs. Student holds for 7 to 15 seconds.

3. The student looks back at the thumb and sees one, but sees two of the object in the background. Student holds for 7 to 15 seconds.

Discuss hereWhat are some strategies that you use to encourage students to look at you while you are speaking?

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2 Responses to “How Can I Help Students with ADHD to Visually Focus?”
  1. Elizabeth Edith Lizz Paulson says:

    Eye Push ups are a part of ‘Brain Gym’ which is part of Stimulating Maturity Through Readiness Training (SMART). It is wonderful to see it presented here. Also part of the program is various accelerated learning stratagies such as VAKT (visual, auditory, kinetic and tactile input), combining a printed picture with text when possible using flourescent orange to imprint words/text/content that you wish students to learn, and using a two day cycle of learning (10 VAKT the first day, a minimum of 5 the next) with singular review in the days that follow in order to place learning in long term memory.

  2. Elizabeth Edith Lizz Paulson says:

    Some Ideas for helping students with ADHD to visually focus are: using additional ‘gymnatistic’ type activities that are included in ‘Brain Gym’ (SMART);Using color ed lettering or background paper (‘Town Taxi’ organge, flourescent purple, green and pink are the most visually stimulating. You can also use colored index cards to assist student in choosing his/her own preferred color which is then used to focus learning/attention), assist family in locating a developmental opthamologist who can help child/family/teacher identify weaknesses that may be interferring with visual focus; ‘framing’ the content to be learned or practiced (example: framing a sight word that appears in text with one’s fingers/paper frame), placing a frame on student’s desk, having the instructor stand in front of a frame, etc.; engaging student in discussion related to the background and purpose of the lesson; engaging student in summarizing instruction midway through the lesson/at the baseline level of child’s attention; having child illustrate the content that is being learned (inform student that he/she will be doing so), teaching student to use graphic organizers or to create a ‘mind movie’ of the lesson content; create/engage a happy frame of mind/context for learning the content.

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