Fort Myers occupational therapist attention & listening

Fort Myers Occupational Therapy Tips for Maximum Attention & Listening

Is your child always “buzzing” off-the-walls? To maximize attention & listening, try these Fort Myers occupational therapy tips. They can be especially helpful for kids who are neurodivergent, language delayed, or diagnosed with conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

So often when we’re exasperated because our child “won’t listen,” we assume it’s because they’re being willfully defiant. However, as our Fort Myers occupational therapy team can explain, a child might HEAR you, but with conditions like ADHD, there are fundamental barriers to paying attention and language processing.

A child first needs to know that you even want their full attention. As adults, it’s our job to clearly communicate that we want them to really listen and respond to us in this moment. This is why saying their full name, ensuring you’re making eye contact, maybe touching their shoulder, or even getting on their level is helpful. Then you can clearly state that you want them to give you their full attention.

If the issue is language processing (understanding what is being said to them), it can often look like “not listening” or “misbehaving” or “not playing nicely.” That’s not at all their intention – they just aren’t as quickly processing and responding to what’s been communicated with the fast-paced back-and-forth communication flow we’ve come to expect as typical for other kids their age.

If you aren’t sure whether they’re truly understanding what you’ve communicated, start by simply asking them if they did – and have them repeat your message back to you as they understand it. Our Fort Myers occupational therapy professionals often find that just this simple step can be so eye-opening in terms of allowing us to see what a child is actually absorbing from the auditory language input they’re receiving.

We find that for a lot of kids with ADHD and language delays/disorders, visual schedules, stories, or reminders can be incredibly helpful.

Our pediatric occupational therapists can provide FOCUS parents and caregivers with a plethora of tips and strategies – specific to your child – that will help set them up for success and ease your frustrations about them “not listening.”

FOCUS offers pediatric speech, occupational, physical, and ABA therapy in Fort Myers and throughout Southwest Florida. Call (239) 313.5049 or Contact Us online.

Additional Resources:

ADHD and Behavior Problems, By Caroline Miller/Dave Anderson, PhD, Child Mind Institute

More Blog Entries:

Why Occupational & Speech Therapists in Fort Myers Teach Kids Inferencing, Aug. 31, 2023, Fort Myers Occupational Therapist for Kids Blog

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