TIP of the WEEK: Limiting Distractions

Children and adults with PWS are often easily distracted as well as slow to refocus. Keeping distractions to a minimum is essential in allowing the person with PWS to successfully complete a task whether it is in the classroom or at a job.

  • In a classroom setting, avoid grouping students together at a table, instead seat them in rows with the most distractible students in the front.
  • Avoid talking only from the front of the room, instead circulate  your movements throughout the classroom.
  • Use decorations in the classroom but keep only what you want the student focused on at eye level, for example the white board.
  • Promote the use of sensory soothing items such as noise canceling headphones, tactile tools and weighted items.
  • Stop every 15-20 minutes for brain breaks that allow the students to get out of their seats and stretch, move or do something off topic. These breaks only need to be a few minutes long but they go a long way in keeping the mind focused and fresh for learning.
  • In the job setting, schedule frequent, short breaks.
  • Encourage socialization with co workers but only at certain, prearranged times during the day. We may be able to have a co worker pop in and have a short conversation then easily get back on task. This same scenario with a person with PWS is extremely difficult. Refocusing once distracted can take far longer than that of a typical worker. It is best to avoid the distraction when possible because getting back to the job at hand can take a very long time.
  • Shorter work days are ideal as this allows for the higher quality output.

Regardless of the setting that you are in it is essential to modify the environment to allow for safe and productive learning. Limiting distractions and creating an atmosphere that allows for optimal concentration will ensure quality education and/or vocational training.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manger PWS Services

Related Posts:
Strategies for the Classroom
Sensory Integration Activities
Reasons Behind the Behavior

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