As mentioned in my blog post about Oliver's ongoing speech delay, we have been given a list of activities to help increase his attention span. There were lots of tips but here's 5 of our favourites and how they've worked for us!
1) Ready, steady, go.
Oliver has really taken to this activity. In my days off I ensure we go out every single day, and this is a really great one for the outdoors. The way we play it is by assuming the position you would take to start a race. I then say ready, steady (pause).....go!!! And we start running. Each time you do it you extend the length of the pause before you shout go. Oliver holds his attention really well within the pause and finds it fun.
*Also a great game for if you have a dawdler and you're trying to get somewhere in a hurry!!*
2) Prompting your child to listen with a hand to ear gesture
This has really worked for Oliver. Calling his name doesn't tend to have an effect. If he's not interested he won't respond, however he does when I use this gesture alongside the word "listen". At first I could only catch his attention if he saw me make the gesture, however I don't need to be making eye contact with him now to engage him. By simply saying "listen" he will stop what he's doing whether he sees the gesture or not! Progress!
3) Telling your child "one last time" or "one more" to keep an activity going longer.
This tip has had the most effect with Oliver's attention when eating as he loses interest in meals very quickly, stating that hes's "all fished (finished)" after one bite. Over the past week Oliver has made more effort with his meals through the use of these prompts. Perhaps this progress with his eating habits is from a mixture of all the tips having an effect, however I do find he is more willing to stick to eating a meal, rather than jumping up and playing, through the use of this tip
4) Talk about what your child is doing rather than asking questions.
This involves a running commentary of what your child is doing or has done throughout the day. I've found this most effective at the end of the day where I will detail everything Oliver has done. This has helped his speech as well as his attention and he is now beginning to join in and add his own parts to what has happened throughout the day
5) Using an interesting tone of voice.
I've adapted this one and have instead used character voices, pretended it's one of his toys asking him to do something, or sung something to him. I've found he's more likely to respond and follow through with what I'm asking when I use this technique.
* Although it's rather embarrassing out in public!!
So! Despite me feeling rather down in the dumps about the chopping and changing with his Speech Therapy, these tips have had a positive effect and will hopefully help his speech in the long run through the aid of increasing his attention span *fingers crossed!*