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Attention disorders in children are most often detected when they start school. Not being able to concentrate on the task at hand can result in learning difficulties, which is why it is so important to recognize the disorder and start treatment immediately. Untreated attention deficit in a child can have consequences also in adulthood.

When do problems with concentration and attention deficit arise in children?

The trait of every child is a lack of concentration. Young children have the right not to react to what is said to them if they are busy elsewhere. They have the right to abandon the task at hand after a while and not focus on something any longer. It is normal for your baby to be mobile, distracted and constantly reminded of something. A child's attention is a very impermanent thing, influenced by a number of stimuli. Subconsciously, the toddler will always choose what is more attractive for him at a given moment (stronger stimulus) than what is expected of him. However, this feature should apply only to the youngest children - up to the age of 5. As they get older, the child's concentration gets better and better.


We talk about a child's attention deficit when the degree of concentration is insufficient for their age. A child who enters early school age should pay more attention to the tasks assigned to him. By the time a child reaches 5 years of age, he or she is usually divided into attention. He can do two things at the same time, e.g. listen to the parent and play. He is also able to focus on something longer without being distracted. The problem with attention deficit occurs when, despite school age, the child is still very distracted and needs to be repeated many times before he realizes what he has been told.

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Symptoms of attention disorders

According to the American classification of DSM-IV diseases, the symptoms that may indicate the occurrence of attention deficit are the following characteristics of the child's behavior.

  • Inability to pay attention to details, making mistakes inadvertently.
  • Inability to focus on one task for a long time.
  • No response to transmitted messages.
  • Abandoning a task before completing it or inaccurate (withoutthinking) executing commands.
  • Lack of proper organization of work (e.g. chaos on a desk, in a schoolbag).
  • Reluctance to engage in mental activity.
  • Losing important things through distraction.
  • Distraction due to other stimuli (even weak ones).
  • Problem with remembering about daily duties.
  • Bad academic performance.

We talk about disorders when we observe symptoms in a child over 7 years of age. The conditions that should be met when making a diagnosis are confirmation of most of the above symptoms, which, moreover, must persist for more than six months. These behaviors should be characteristic of many activities of the child, and not e.g. observed only at home.

Apart from the above-mentioned behaviors, concentration disorders are sometimes accompanied by emotional problems. The child cannot control his emotions, easily falls into various emotional states (including outbursts of aggression), and thus may be disliked by his peers.

Disturbances in attention and concentration in children - causes

The attention disorder in a child has a neurological background. The cause of a child's attention deficit is likely to be a slow or inhibited development of the brain structures responsible for concentration. They are located in the frontal lobe. A frequent cause of disorders is too much stimulation of the child. If they have too many impressions in their life, each day is different and full of new elements, there are no conditions for learning and concentration, it is conducive to a deficit of attention. Sometimes the wrong diet of the child is also to blame, based on ingredients that stimulate the child, e.g. cocoa, sugar, preservatives, artificial dyes.

Attention and concentration disorders in children - diagnosis

Since it is very easy to confuse the attention deficit as a disorder with the normal behavior of a child, diagnosis should be very thorough and lengthy. The child should be examined by a psychologist, additionally assessed against the background of peers (e.g. by a school psychologist). No symptom must not be overlooked or downplayed. In addition, all this should be done in the most neutral conditions for the child, so that the image of his behavior is not distorted. Any existing environmental causes should also be taken into account - the child should not be examined in unusual circumstances (important event in life, child's illness, fatigue).

After considering all symptoms, their intensity and duration, it is only possible to make a final diagnosis. The most competent doctors in this field are psychologists and psychiatrists.

Disturbance in attention andconcentration in children - treatment

The first step in treating attention deficit disorder in children is to identify all symptoms. It depends on how the further therapy will go. The treatment itself is based on appropriate behavior towards the child in every area of ​​his life, therefore information about the disorder should be received not only by the child's caregivers, but also by their teachers.

Therapy usually means following the recommendations of a psychologist who makes parents aware of the importance of systematizing and good organization of work in the life of their child. Sometimes simple solutions are enough, e.g. introducing all kinds of aids to learning that will allow the child to remember and properly perform the duties - boards, memo cards, organizers. The child around him should have an orderly environment, and there should be no chaos in his life. People with attention deficit disorder should only do one activity at a time to practice focusing on one.

In the life of a child with an attention deficit, the so-called the 3R rule, that is: regularity (regularity, set rhythm), routine (avoiding sudden changes, the same pattern of conduct every day), repetition (repeatability of commands until successful).

In advanced cases of attention disorder in a child, it may be necessary to undergo psychotherapy, and sometimes even pharmacological treatment. The task of drugs is to eliminate internal anxiety and improve concentration. One rarely grows out of attention disorders. In most cases, the untreated disease also accompanies adulthood and makes functioning very difficult. For this reason, the early symptoms of the disorder should not be ignored and the help of a specialist should be sought at the right moment. Curing your child will help them match their peers in their achievements and give them an easier start in life.

Worth knowing

Types of attention disorders

Not all attention disorders are of the same nature and intensity. Most often we deal with attention disorder with or without the accompanying hyperactivity of the child.

  • Active-impulsive type - is when the child is distracted by external stimuli, even small things. The child has a lot of energy, lacks patience, wants to complete his task as quickly as possible (at the expense of quality), often gets nervous. At school, such children usually disturb lessons, accost them, they cannot sit still on the desk. Even though they know they are doing wrong, they cannot fix their behavior.
  • Passive type - the child seems to be in his world sometimes, he thinks, daydreaming, he lacks energy. For this reason, he is unable to complete the task entrusted to him. Bydaydreaming, extends the time of executing a command, forgets what was supposed to do or loses the motivation to finish an activity. Attention deficit may occur with other disorders, such as: unjustified anxiety, depression, dyslexia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, antisociality, aggression. Some accompanying disorders may develop into adulthood.

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