What is Distractibility?
Distractibility is the inability to focus on or filter out stimuli—generally visual or auditory–which require no attention at the particular moment. Being easily distracted may be a symptom of other potential disabilities, such as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and sensory processing disorders.
What are some symptoms of distractibility?
A child who is easily distracted is often less productive and gets far less work done than expected. The child may seem lost or appear unable to attend to simple and short activities, may quickly and easily change the subject of conversation, and may seem busy and occupied, while in reality, accomplish little of the task before him. For the child who is easily distracted, it often takes an unusually long time to complete simple tasks.
What will happen to my child should he/she not receive help for distractibility?
If a child does not receive treatment or intervention for his distracted behavior, he may begin to feel frustrated, out of control, and uncertain of himself. Simple, everyday tasks can seem daunting and difficult, since the child fears he may not be able to complete that which he sets out to finish. The child may also have academic setbacks as he is not able to hand in assignments on time or meet necessary deadlines. When a child feels unsuccessful and frustrated with himself, this stress will likely carry over into his relationships with family, friends and school peers.
How might I help treat my child’s distractibility?
There are a number of medications that can impact a child’s brain and assist him in functioning more efficiently. In addition to medication, it is also useful to educate those who impact your child’s environment; teachers can use behavioral techniques to teach the child how to better use his time and how to organize himself, and in doing this, the child will gain self-assurance, which will lend to his continuing success.
Our Approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy
Children who are easily distracted can benefit from applied behavior analysis, which uses behavioral techniques to teach a child appropriate and functional ways to complete tasks and decrease distractibility. Occupational therapists can also work with your child on any functioning skills or sensory processing disorders that may potentially accompany distractibility.