Paying attention

Paying attention

Does Your Child Have ADD or ADHD symptoms?

Attention disorders are prevalent in our society and may have several underlying causes, however, one cause is often overlooked. Strong visualization skills are imperative for a student to pay attention while learning and listening. In order to have solid attention skills, a student should convert what has been heard or read into pictures or movies in the brain. It has been stated that the average human brain can only retain seven non-meaningful units of information at a time – which is equivalent to seven words or numbers that have not been visualized. If one thinks about how much verbal information is spoken in the average classroom daily, then it is apparent that students who don’t visualize at all, or inconsistently, will exhibit attention disorders.

These students will quickly become bored with listening and their attention will wander. Those that tune out and daydream are often labeled as ADD, and those that move excessively and possibly disrupt others in the classroom will commonly be labeled ADHD. Because ADD and ADHD symptoms are similar to the symptoms exhibited by those that don’t adequately visualize, students are sometimes misdiagnosed.

Students that have been misdiagnosed often come into our clinic with an ADD or ADHD diagnosis and are taking medication that the parent does not feel is effective. The students often have negative side effects that are impacting their life, without the benefit of improvement of the attention issues. Other students are diagnosed correctly, but they may have inadequate visualization skills in addition to true ADD or ADHD. Therefore, the medication may be helpful, but they still have difficulty paying attention. The medication does not completely resolve the attention issue, and therefore, the students may not be successful even with the aid of medication.

If you think about how difficult it would be to read a book without seeing the corresponding “movie” in your mind’s eye, then the dilemma that students have that don’t visualize on a daily basis can be more easily understood. It would be difficult to enjoy a book if one were only reading the words. The same is true for listening. This is why it is common to hear that school, listening or reading is boring to these students, as the way they are using their brains for learning truly does make the learning process “boring.”

The strategies utilized in our clinic for teaching visualization skills to improve attention, comprehension and memory skills are available in my ebook Beyond Tutoring: Strategies to Improve Reading, Spelling, Comprehension and Memory.