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

"When different organisations assess different aspects of a child's neuro-rehabilitation needs, everyone looks at things from a different perspective and have conflicting priorities"
Cathy Jonson; Rehab without Walls; United Kingdom.
"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
"Children and young people have poor social competence post brain injury due to reduced cognition, executive functions, and emotional control. As a result they are twice as likely to have mental health issues in the future"
James Tonks; University of London
"Participation in teen sports and normal activities leads to improved quality of life for children and young people post brain injury and helps to maximise outcomes"
Claire Willis; Australia
"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
"Parent-supported interventions after paediatric ABI bring reductions to the cost to society"
Eric Hermans; Netherlands
"Families need to be properly supported as 'resilience' is key to delivering successful outcomes for children and young people."
Roberta De Pompeii; USA
"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
"Rehabilitation interventions can lead to positive outcomes for children and their families if delivered in the familiar home environment and applied to everyday situations"
Cerebra; United Kingdom
"Often families don't have the financial capability to access services. We need to rethink how we deliver neuro-rehab services to children and young people"
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