Being able to pay attention—to focus, concentrate, and ignore distractions, is critical to school/work and life achievement. When individuals have disorders of attention (such as ADHD), the following ‘red flag’ symptoms may interfere with their success:
-Need for high levels of stimulation (hyperactivity, restlessness)
-Trouble staying focused on work
-Difficulty with self-control
-Underachievement in school and leisure activities (e.g. scouts, music lessons)
-Trouble with memory and learning new things
-Disorganization—time management problems, losing things, missing deadlines
Clearly, disorders of attention are not only about paying attention. People with attention disorders can have trouble paying attention, however, the real problems arise when they try to stay focused on something for a long time (e.g. like a long division problem or a textbook chapter). Executive functioning problems can lead to trouble with time management, organization, and remembering to finish important tasks. People with attention problems may need lots of excitement in order to stay focused. For example, a person may be able to keep his attention on an exciting video game for hours, but find his or her mind wandering after just a few minutes of homework. Attention disorders can look different in different people. In some cases, people with attention disorders have problems with self control. They may be hyperactive or always feel restless. They may make mistakes that get them into trouble because they act without stopping to think. Other individuals with attention disorders can seem dreamy, and find it hard to stay motivated. It is essential once you have recognized symptoms of attention problems to understand the nature of the problem.
If you believe your child may have attention problems, consider scheduling a consultation with a MindWell expert.