Dear Teacher, as we prepare for another day of school together, can we pause for a moment? We have gone through my checklist, gathering everything I need for the day's subjects. But did we go through your checklist? Both of us need to feel successful. Since you have helped me understand how you want me to prepare for school, here is my checklist for you.
> DO YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION?
It is hard to tell by looking at me sometimes, becuase I don't always make eye contact or sit upright, but I'm usually listening to what you are saying. If you're not sure, ask me what you just said, rather than asking me if I'm paying attention. If I respond correctly, I am paying attention. If I cannot repeat information back to you, gain my attention before you present it again.
It is a challenge for me to learn passively for extended periods of time. Sometimes all I need is repetition, once you have my attention, to learn. The more senses you involve, the more engaged I will be. Don't just tell me what to do, show me how, and then have me show you that I understand.
> AM I DISTRACTED...OR NOT DISTRACTED ENOUGH?
Sometimes I don't pay attention because I am distracted. Sometimes, I need a distraction. A totally still environment can cause my ears and eyes to strain to find out where the distractions went. If I have something subtle to occupy me -- two quarters to rub together or a pair of earphones to muffle sounds or to listen to music with -- I am neither distracted nor seeking out the distractions. I am relaxed and alert.
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