TIP of the WEEK: Focusing in the Classroom

Getting and keeping the attention of a child with PWS in class can be a difficult task but there are ways to engage and help to keep them focused.

1. Whisper. My personal favorite. If your child is yelling, crying or having a tantrum- whisper. They will often be so intrigued by what you are saying that they will stop and focus on you.

2. Do something unexpected. Flip the lights, drop a book, start to sing or clap. This will distract them long enough to stop the behavior and get their attention back on you.

3. Have a signal that means it is time to pay attention.
At Latham School we have the kids raise their hands. When everyone’s hand is up we know that everyone is ready to listen. The kids typically don’t want to be the last one with their hand up so this works very well.

4. Avoid lecture style teaching plans. It is very difficult for kids to pay attention and stay engaged if they are just being asked to sit still and listen. The curriculum should be full of plans that require movement and many different physically active activities.

5. Take breaks. Lots of them. Even if it is a 60 second break to stretch and move around, this will do wonders for their attention.

6. Use bright colors and alerting sounds. If music is used choose music that has more than 60 beats per minute, otherwise you will have very sleepy kids on your hands.

The most effective method for getting and keeping a kids attention is to make the classroom fun and somewhere that they look forward to going to everyday. Use prizes, praise, anything that will get the point across that they are liked and that you also look forward to seeing and teaching them everyday.

Patrice Carroll
Manager PWS Services

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