Attention and Self Regulation

Attention and concentration is what allows us to focus on one thing at a time, and block out other irrelevant information. As we grow, we learn to develop the amount of time we are able to pay attention and this can be influenced by motivation, sensory processing, language challenges, self-esteem and practice. Having a good attention span allows children to be alert, resist distractions from their environment and to engage in a task for an extended period of time.  Without the capacity to attend to relevant stimuli and block out other information, children have trouble regulating their state of arousal to match the task or the environment.

Children who may have challenges with attention and regulation may present with:

      • Become easily distracted by things or people around them

      • Miss details or steps in instructions

      • Increased energy levels or arousal level

      • Finding it difficult to ‘wake up’ to complete the task as they appear sleepy or lethargic

      • Appear disinterested or swap between tasks quickly

      • Difficulty knowing what to focus their attention on

      • Behavioural challenges including meltdowns or outbursts

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