Developing Attention & Executive Function Skills


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Developing Attention & Executive Function Skills

It can be frustrating when you see your child
struggling, but they don’t seem to be listening.
How many times can a child hear, “Focus on what
you are doing!” and “Just sit there until your work
is finished!”
Parents tell us stories of their guilt in losing patience
and raising their voices and even of family stress
and conflict as a result of the challenges with just
getting homework done. Parents regularly talk
about feeling like the police and how they feel their
relationship within the family are affected.
Attention and memory are bottom line important
learning skills. If a person can’t focus long enough
to let the information in, or if he doesn’t have a way
to hold onto it, there will be interference to all
further learning. Learning and behavior depend on
attention.
Testing for attention and focus deficiencies can be
tricky. That is why it is so commonly diagnosed
using surveys given to the parents and teachers for
observations. There is no known mechanism in the
brain causing attention challenges. Medication may
not be the right answer. The real solution is to find
out WHY those observations exist and treat the
cause, not the symptoms.
Developing Attention & Executive Function Skills
Following are a three essential types of attention
and an important skill related to improving
attention.
Sustained Attention is the ability to stay on task for
a length of time. During homework, you may notice
a clue to your child’s attention span if he/she makes
mistakes at some point or time in the assignment.
Selective Attention is the ability to concentrate on
one task and not be distracted by other things.
Divided Attention is the ability to complete two
separate tasks at the same time (i.e. taking notes in
class). This is also referred to as multi-tasking and
demands a strong working memory.
An important skill: Shifting Attention is what we
do when we pause our focus on one thing to listen
or look at something else. Developing awareness of
self and when they shift and strengthening the selfregulation
to shift back to complete the first task.
What would it be like if these challenges were
permanently fixed or significantly improved with
the appropriate cognitive training?
There IS a real and permanent solution.


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