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Early years: limited attention span compared to developmental age

Strategies and approaches:

  • Use child’s name when giving instructions.
  • Ask the child to repeat back what activity they are going to do.
  • Use the child’s interest as a motivator and to extend engagement.
  • Consider use of timers, so the child know they only have to focus for a comfortable amount of time.
  • Keep activities short and finish before the child loses interest in order to build on success for the child.
  • Use chunking and break tasks down into smaller, manageable steps. 
  • Use of visual timetables – including some individualised to meet a child’s needs.
  • Consider the use of attention building strategies.
  • Consider backward chaining e.g. break the overall task down into smaller steps. The adult helps the child with all but that last step with the child being taught to do the last step themselves. Once the last step is learnt, the child and adult work backwards, learning other steps of the sequence until the child can do the entire task.


Using Visual Timetables

Last updated 2 November 2021

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