Attention is such an important element of a child’s quality of life that it deserves a second conversation. And that’s what we’re going to give you in this part two of our series “Attention, Learning & Your Child.” If you haven’t had the chance to listen to the first part, please do so by following this link. It is an important episode where we set the ground for this second part. In part one, we talked about what attention is, what the different types of attention are, how attention develops early in life, and how attention difficulties can be detected and managed as early as possible.
In part two, we bring back Jacky Peile to talk more about attention and the different interventions available for children with attention difficulties. Jacky is the founder of EarlyLinks, an occupational therapy clinic for children at Sutherland Shire, Sydney, Australia. She leads a team of occupational therapists who support children, teens, and young adults challenged by anxiety and sensory-processing difficulties to improve their daily life through practical strategies.
- How attention develops in the early years of a child
- A working definition of attention
- Specific strategies to cultivate the attention skills of babies and toddlers (0–2 years old)
- What changes in children’s attention as they transition to school age and how parents can continue to cultivate their attention at this point
- How going down to the level of the child can help communicate what he or she needs to be focusing on at particular moments
- The role of breaking down a task into small steps that a child can follow in building attention in schoolchildren
- How to encourage children to ask for help when they need it
- The key difference between ordinary attention difficulties and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Jacky’s thoughts on medication for ADHD and working with health professionals
- What parents need to expect when they visit Jacky for an assessment of their children’s attention issues
- How therapy looks like and how long it will take
Jacky’s guide questions for parents who want to integrate attention training in their child’s day-to-day life
- What does the child need to be focusing their attention on right now?
- And can I use that as a scaffolding or a conversation with my child to help them realize what they need to focus on?
“Attention is something that closely is so ingrained in our day-to-day experience of the world.
. . . once you know a little bit about the theory, you can really start to create your own practical strategy and your own ways to develop that attention system without needing to do it as a specific additional exercise or activity. It can be just embedded in the day-to-day.”