UNDERSTANDING WHY ATTENTION MATTERS IN CHILDREN’S LIVES BEGINS WITH UNDERSTANDING HOW ATTENTION AFFECTS DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF DEVELOPMENT
So, why does attention really matter in your child’s life? Intuitively, most parents and teachers recognize that children need to pay attention to learn something or follow instructions. However, attention is more foundational than that. For example, attention is needed to sustain appropriate focus on a task. And while it can be influenced by motivation, self-esteem, sensory integration, practice, and language difficulties, it can also be trained.
It is generally the case that attention and eyes move together so that gaze and attention are in the same location.
Good Attention Skills help us Screen Out Distractions and Focus on what is Important
Attention skills are foundational to Executive Functioning, which include self-control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. To successfully screen out distractions, we need self-control. And if we look one step deeper, we need to self-monitor to be aware of our immediate wants (e.g. the urge to look at the squirrel) in order to make a decision about what to do about them. Self-monitoring requires attention skills to do it successfully.
Focusing on what is important requires working memory. This is the ability to apply a piece of information to a situation. For example, you need to be able to keep a goal in mind (e.g. completing my homework) to be able to make the decision to keep working when a distraction occurs. It requires attention skills to bring information into working memory.
Working memory is also key to developing a plan and sticking with it.
WHAT OTHER LIFE SKILLS ARE AFFECTED BY ATTENTION SKILLS?
- Sensory Processing (the ability to filter out noise, touch, and other stimuli)
- Self Regulation (the ability to suppress emotional outbursts)
- Auditory Processing (the ability to understand spoken directions)
HOW WOULD I KNOW IF MY CHILD HAS CHALLENGES WITH ATTENTION?
If your child has trouble with attention, they might…
- Ignore instructions
- Misunderstand the steps in instructions
- Make the same mistakes again and again
- Zone out – or go to LaLa Land
- Be physically dysregulated (too loud, too active or lethargic)
- Be highly forgetful – lose things – lose their train of thought
WHAT OTHER AREAS OF LIFE CAN ATTENTION SKILLS AFFECT?
Kids with attention difficulties also have difficulties with:
- Learning new skills
- Social interaction
- Learning how to play
- Following instructions
- Understanding language
- Math (because of extended concentration and attention required)
Attention skills play an important role in a child’s life. If a child struggles with attention, he or she will struggle in school and in life. That is why we created Attention Training Games. They allow children to train the skills that can help them be more successful in school and in life.