Kahlon Family Services > Blog > Uncategorized > Limiting Distraction

Limiting Distraction


If a member of your family is on the Autism Spectrum, you will know what a hard time they have with keeping their attention on the right thing at the right time. Whether your child is at school, at home, or out in the community, there are ways to limit the distractions they face. After all, by limiting distractions, you’re setting your child up for success.

(1) Expect eye contact
In every context, you should expect your child to make eye contact when given a direction. This may be hard for kids with Autism, but not impossible. Eye contact might be uncomfortable and take a lot of effort, but this is a life skill that will help teach kids how to pay attention.

(2) Invest in noise canceling headphones
Noise canceling headphones can be fancy (electronic, with white noise etc.) or basic. Having a pair on hand will be helpful for situations where you can’t control how noisy the environment will become. Have some at home, and some in your backpack when you’re out and about.

(3) Create a calm homework environment
Think about where your child is expected to do homework – is it calm? Calm environments are not cluttered, are free from the temptations of electronic devices/screens, as quiet as possible, and away from toys. You can also purchase or make “office spaces” with cardboard visual barriers that help kids look only at the work in front of them. It may seem odd to restrict what your child can see, but these barriers can really help with productivity and independence.

(4) Pause for instructions
If you have something you need to tell your child, but they are watching TV, playing on the iPad or on the computer – have them pause. Do not expect your child to pay attention to what you’re saying while they are watching and listening to something else. To be honest, your “boring” instruction of “Dinner’s ready!” or “Take out the garbage!” is less interesting than Minecraft. Ask your child to pause, make eye contact, listen to the instruction and… repeat!

(5) Repeat!
Once you have said your instruction, with your child making eye contact, ask him to repeat it back to you. This is another opportunity to see if (a) He heard what you said, and (b) He understands what’s being asked of him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *