[blindkid] 6 yr old having trouble staying focused while reading

Allison Hilliker AllisonH at benetech.org
Tue Dec 10 19:24:03 UTC 2013

Hi Julie,

Your daughter sounds like fun! IT's great that she's bright and talkative so try to enjoy that fact if you can.

I've taught kids who are both blind and have ADHD. There experiences are similar to your daughter's. Have you considered this possibility for her? A blind child can have both things and have them not be necessarily related. I'd recommend reading up on techniques for helping first-graders with ADHD. Many of them can be adapted for a blind child. 

That said, sometimes blind kids are under-stimulated because they don't have visual info coming in to keep their minds occupied while in class. I had some of that when I was young, although it maybe wasn't as extreme as your daughter's experience. Today as a blind adult, I love to get interesting textured bracelets and rings that I can play with discreetly during meetings or other activities where I may have to sit and listen for a long period of time. Some of the blind adults I know use more obvious objects like worry stones, silly putty,  or origami, but I prefer the jewelry because it looks more professional and less obvious. 

I started kindergarten with a late b-day too. I think I'm better off for it, so please don't feel badly about not holding your daughter bak a year. If she's bored now, how much more bored could she be if she wasn't learning challenging material?

Lastly, it's important to keep in mind that a 6-y-o is still a 6-y-o, whether she is blind or not. Some kids have more trouble concentrating on school work than others. This fact may or may not have anything to do with blindness. And reading itself isn't any more or less stimulating than print if it's in Braille. Most parenting and teaching techniques that work for parents of sighted children could work for your daughter with little or no adaptation.

JMO. And best of luck!


-----Original Message-----
From: blindkid [mailto:blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Julie
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 11:58 AM
To: blindkid at nfbnet.org
Subject: [blindkid] 6 yr old having trouble staying focused while reading

My 6 yr old daughter is having trouble staying focused while reading braille. Actually, while doing most school work. She is at or above grade level in math, reading and spelling so its not an academic issue more of a behavior issue that her teacher is getting frustrated with.
She fidgets a lot while reading. She doesn't keep both hands on the paper, she twirls her hair, makes funny words, wants to talk instead of read, etc. She is the youngest in her first grade class, 6 yrs old with a july birthday. She is a bright girl but I am wishing we had waited until she was 6 to start K . We had similar behavior issues in K last year and I wanted to hold her back so she could catch up emotionally/socially but was discouraged from doing so because they were concerned she would be bored which would lead to more behaviors. Any suggestions, ideas, strategies on ways to help her focus? Have any of you had "focus goals" put into the IEP? Im thinking of asking for focus goals and behavior goals.
Her behaviors are things like  interrupting, wanting immediate attention, impatience, and sometimes being sassy with teachers. 
Thanks in advance you guys have always been so helpful and supportive!

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