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My 8-year-old son gets distracted very easily. We know what most of his triggers are, and usually deal with it by avoidance, but often avoidance is either unavoidable or undesirable. For example, being in a group of more than 3 or 4 people is highly distracting to him, but he can't just stay away from people his whole life, even if he wanted to.

The only thing we have found that "works" is to continually put him back on task verbally, but that is very short-lived and isn't pleasant for either of us. He gets distracted even on tasks he enjoys, that were his own idea.

What strategies can we teach him to help him to manage distractions on his own?

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  • Is he diagnosed with any special needs? I ask because the relevant advice might be different.
    – A E
    Sep 1, 2015 at 19:19
  • He is not officially diagnosed, @AE, but he scores very strongly on the unofficial ADHD tests. Sep 1, 2015 at 19:24
  • So more seriously aside from the ADHD rubbish, has there been any change that has coincided with this? Any accidents, trauma, bullying etc? How much TV does he watch a day? Does he play computer games and if so attentively? Need a bit more info to direct any advice. Sep 4, 2015 at 16:23
  • He has been this way his entire life. I noted already that he gets distracted even on things he enjoys. That includes TV and video games. For example, after an hour of Minecraft he often ends up with nothing else than seeds and one or two mob drops, because he constantly moves from one distraction to another within the game. He watches TV in 5 minute spurts then does something else. Basically, he doesn't spend more than 5 minutes on anything, fun or boring, without an adult constantly putting him back on track. Sep 4, 2015 at 16:48

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How is he at school? Is distraction a problem there too, or do you home school? I don't think you should rule out ADHD. Depending on the severity of what you are describing it is a possibility. Have you ever spoken to his doctor about this distractibility? If it is impairing his ability to lead a normal life, getting him assessed by a psychologist would be helpful as they would advise on how to best manage his behaviour.

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