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

"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
"With support parents cope better so the child has a better recovery"
Andrea Palacio-Navarro; Spain
"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
"More play increases brain plasticity and makes for better recovery post brain injury"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada
"Taking brain injured children home causes high stress for families. Disjointed services exacerbate family stress levels."
Deborah Andrews; New Zealand
"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
"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
"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.
"Families need to be properly supported as 'resilience' is key to delivering successful outcomes for children and young people."
Roberta De Pompeii; USA
"Brain development is complex and prolonged. Brain plasticity is influenced by a range of factors. Plasticity provides a base for neuro-rehab therapies and treatment"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada

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