• Question: For students with attention deficit disorders (both ADD and ADHD) is there any way of distinguishing between inattention that is a result of their disorder and the inattention that is a result of not finding the lesson interesting? These are lessons which are accessible to the students, and teachers are struggling with which strategies to use as they are not always able to determine the root of the inattention.

    Asked by vmarshall to Mike, Matt, Linda, Helena, Geneviève, Gaia, Emily, Anna on 2 Mar 2018.
    • Photo: Mike Hobbiss

      Mike Hobbiss answered on 2 Mar 2018:

      Great question! I don’t think there would be any possible way of knowing this in real time. Perhaps over the course of a term or so a pattern might emerge, though of course the two might be related – the condition might affect behaviour more in certain situations! It’s obviously a tricky one as you don’t know the level of allowances to make. I think it would also depend on other non-science things like their SEN statement, the school’s SEN and behaviour policies etc.

    • Photo: Gaia Scerif

      Gaia Scerif answered on 2 Mar 2018:

      In a way neuroscience would suggest that both inattention and not finding lessons interesting go together. Children with ADD / ADHD find motivating themselves hard, so that what can be engaging children without ADD just fine, kids with ADD may require that bit of extra boost of “extrinsic” motivation. For example, finding what their “hook” is in terms of interests, or incentives / gamification. We and others have found that when counting on self-motivation engaging in tasks was harder for kids with ADD, but with game-like incentives they could get to be as engaged as children without ADD.