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

"Strength-based family intervention after pediatric ABI is essential. Parents need to be equipped with the skills to cope and advocate for the child."
Caron Gan; Canada
"We would like to see earlier identification and support for children with brain injuries to help them succeed in school."
Dalton Leong; Chief Executive of the Children's Trust
"Parent-supported interventions after paediatric ABI bring reductions to the cost to society"
Eric Hermans; Netherlands
"Positive and coordinated neuro-rehab interventions for children and young people is proven to bring health improvements; improve independence; reduces the need for sheltered living; decreases vulnerability; decreases drop-out rates in schools; decreases youth offending"
Eric Hermans; Netherlands
"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
"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
"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
"Families need to be properly supported as 'resilience' is key to delivering successful outcomes for children and young people."
Roberta De Pompeii; USA
"More play increases brain plasticity and makes for better recovery post brain injury"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada
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

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