Minimizing Distractions for Inattentive ADHD

My 11 year old, Inattentive ADHD, son is a huge reader. He reads everything. Fiction, non-fiction, magazines, ketchup bottle labels... Some folks say; "Gee, isn't that fantastic?" Well it is and it isn't.

My son will be doing his homework and get up to go to the bathroom and run into a New Yorker Magazine on the way back to his desk. Before you know it, he is deep into an article reviewing a new movie that is about to be released. When I finally find him, 15 minutes has past, and his homework is still not completed.  Distractions are a huge barrier to getting things done for people with Inattentive ADHD and minimizing distractions is one of the treatment modalities that works powerfully well to improve the negative outcomes of Inattentive ADHD, when applied properly.

I find that if I set some ground rules and prepare him adequately, I can minimize these digressions. This is what I do. Before he sits down to start his homework I:

1. Have him use the bathroom
2. Get him a drink and a snack that he can have on the desk while he is working.
3. Speak to him about what he needs to get accomplished and set a 'game plan'.
4. Help him gather together EVERYTHING he needs to complete his 'game plan'.
5. Turn off all electronics that may be distracting and play music only if it is not distracting.
6. Periodically check on his progress.

In every life there are unforeseen events that spoil the best laid out plans. In our case these include; sibling problems, friends knocking on the door, phone calls, interesting food preparations, confusing homework instructions, other family member problems, etc. We deal with these interruptions as quickly as possible and then get back to the task at hand.

My son has been using this routine for several years and if we do not stray from the plan he is extremely productive . It is very hard for all young inattentive ADHD persons to stay on task. I was no where near as productive at his age and I am very proud of him for what he has accomplished so far.


  1. This is EXCELLENT advice, Tess! Should be required reading for parents of ADHD kids, hyperactive and non, mho. Thank you~ lori

  2. Thank you for the great post! I have ADHD-PI, and I find it next to impossible to do my work. I have set up a study space following your guidlines and so far it has worked like a charm! I am favoriting this page.

  3. Thanks for your kind comments. I am glad that the study space is working!!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.