Attention

Physical Communication Cognitive Behavioural / Emotional

A simple explanation of attention is the behavioural and cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one thing. It enables the brain to provide clarity, without being distracted by other ongoing trains of thought. Even minor head injuries can result in problems with attention.

The different types of attention are:

  • Basic arousal – basic alertness and awareness of what is happening around you
  • Sustained attention – ability to stay alert and concentrate over a period of time
  • Selective attention – ability to focus your attention on one thing or task without getting distracted
  • Alternating attention – ability to shift attention back and forth between tasks or activities
  • Divided attention – ability to focus on more than one thing at the same time

Attention is critical for cognitive functions. Problems with attention and concentration result in difficulties with:

  • Keeping track of what is being said or done
  • Experiencing information overload
  • Having difficulty doing more than one task at a time
  • Being slower at taking in information
  • Becoming easily distracted
  • Finding it difficult to focus
  • Finding difficulty in completion of tasks
  • Making mistakes or errors
  • Getting fatigued or tired

Attention can be improved by:

  • Breaking down tasks into smaller parts and working on them one at a time.
  • Focusing – do tasks for a short time, rather than a long time.
  • Planning more difficult tasks when you know you will be rested and have more mental and physical energy to get them done.
  • Planning a variety of tasks to keep your interest and motivation
  • Planning regular breaks and rest throughout the day
  • Improving the quality of your sleep and physical health and fitness
  • Get rid of clutter and be more organised
  • Try to avoid noisy or busy environments
  • Reduce distractions by turning off radios, telephones etc.
  • Use of visual reminders and prompts
  • Keep a to do list to get back on track if you have been distracted
  • Make use of technology for reminders and prompts

"Taking brain injured children home causes high stress for families. Disjointed services exacerbate family stress levels."
Deborah Andrews; New Zealand
"Too often children and young people with ABI are discharged from hospital without specialist brain support that they and their families need to overcome lifelong challenges"
Andrew Ross; former Chief Executive of the Children's Trust
"When someone has a brain injury, early access to local, specialist rehabilitation is crucial to ensure the maximum recovery and make significant savings to the state in health costs"
Headway; United Kingdom
"We are medical practitioners. The real experts are the parents. Over the last 35 years they have taught me everything I know"
Lucia Braga; Brazil
"Pediatric neuro-rehabilitation cannot be delivered in isolation. The needs of the child have to be looked at both holistically and within the context of the family unit. Parents need to be empowered to be parents in post-acute pediatric neuro-rehabilitation following brain injury"
The Children's Trust; United Kingdom
"We need to harness the power of brain plasticity for treating children and young people with brain injury, especially at the key ages of 0-3 and at ages 10-16"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada
"Different 'experts' involved in paediatric neuro-rehabilitation come from different organisational cultures which causes conflict and has a negative effect on the outcomes for the child."
Barbara O'Connell; Ireland
"My colleague was blown away by the tremendous work your organisation is doing for society."  Social Worker
Child 1 - Aged 14 and 3 years after a traumatic brain injury
2019 2020 Change
REASONING 301/800 426/800   +  125
MEMORY 181/800 304/800   +  123
ATTENTION 463/800 573/800   +  110
COORDINATION 47/800 309/800   +  262
PERCEPTION 158/800 374/800   +  216
"There are problems with getting people into neuro-rehab. Those most in need are often those most excluded due to a lack of socio-economic resources."
Vicki Anderson; Australia

OUR MISSION: To work to remove inequalities for children & young people affected by acquired brain injury; and provide effective support to their families that makes a real difference.

Council for Disabled Children Community Funded Charity Excellence Lottery Funded Youth Foundation BBC CiN