Attention Difficulties – ADD / ADHD

CHILDREN

Attention Difficulties – ADD / ADHD

Children who have an attention disorder may be easily distracted, miss details, forget things and frequently switch from one activity to another. They may have difficulty focusing on one thing and become bored with a task after only a few minutes – unless they are doing something they really enjoy..

Mark has ADHD

Mark was having difficulties in school. His mother reports that he was ‘colicy’ as a baby, never slept well at night and was always very active. There were many times he even managed to get out of his cot himself. When he was in playschool he was very active and never stayed at any activity for ...

Mark was having difficulties in school. His mother reports that he was ‘colicy’ as a baby, never slept well at night and was always very active. There were many times he even managed to get out of his cot himself. When he was in playschool he was very active and never stayed at any activity for any length of time. He rarely sat down.

At six years of age he was still not doing well in school. He had great difficulty staying on his seat for activities such as reading or in tasks that required concentration. After a short period he would slide off his chair and start crawling on the floor “like a lizard.” His mother described him as ‘whirlwind’ that arrives on the scene when he attempted to join other children playing. He has great difficulty “fitting in” and has very few real friends. He finds it very difficult to pay attention to other children or adults, especially adults in authority and is always “butting in”. Mark can “hear the grass grow” according to his mother and used to be very sensitive to certain sounds, the hoover for example.

Mark has recently been given a diagnosis of ADHD.

Many children who are overactive are attempting to stimulate an underactive vestibular system. We know that the vestibular system is involved in receiving information from the senses, and is also involved in coordination, balance, muscle tone and a sense of body awareness. A well-integrated fully functioning vestibular system is necessary for us to regulate ourselves and interact well with those around us. Some children with ADHD are also hypersensitive to sound as Mark is, that is they hear too much, which can be very painful. Many of these children begin to tune out because they are overwhelmed by sound, while other children become very active and roll around the floor or move from topic to topic rapidly.

At Cluas using classical music delivered through specialised sound equipment, an individual auditory stimulation program was designed for Mark. His individual programme, which included listening to classical music, retrained his ability to analyze sounds and improved his listening. The use of this specially processed music also works on the vestibular system and retrains the right ear to be dominant which has helped his concentration.

Mark is now a lot less sensitive to sound and his mother reports that he has become more amenable and is willing to do little chores when requested, something that never happened before. He now listens for longer and tends to complete more tasks in class. While he is still active in school, he is much more cooperative and a lot calmer during classes. He has recently made two new friends and fights a lot less with his sister.

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TESTIMONIAL

Ben – aged 11 – from Dublin, with concentration and listening difficultiesJun '14

“… I could see his frustration building especially as he became a little bigger and more was expected of him at school .… I have seen a dramatic change in Ben and how he responds to us at home … He is also definitely happier at school. He has made new friends and seems to have found a new g...

“… I could see his frustration building especially as he became a little bigger and more was expected of him at school .… I have seen a dramatic change in Ben and how he responds to us at home … He is also definitely happier at school. He has made new friends and seems to have found a new group of people – while still retaining his old pals. He has found boys he has stuff in common with – I think his communication skills have improved greatly and is discerning what he likes and doesn’t ….“

Ben’s parents were very concerned about how difficult home and school life was for him. His parents made an appointment at Cluas in Dublin in November 2013 for an Assessment and Ben started his Cluas @ Home program the next week.

The 3-week first stage was completed by end of November. After an interval of a month, the next stage of 8 days was completed after Christmas during some of the school holidays. The third and final stage was arranged for mid-February. At a review with Cluas after his program was finished, Ben’s mother, Natalie, told us about Ben’s experiences at home and school before the Cluas program and how he got on after his program:

There were a number of factors that led to Ben doing a Cluas program at home – he lacked concentration in the sense that he would flit from one activity to another and couldn’t sit still as they say for any length of time. Ben’s name could be called many, many times a day and it was as though he couldn’t hear me. He, if asked to carry out more than one instruction at a time, say go to your room and get your schoolbag and call your brother – and don’t forget to turn out the light – he may if we were lucky remember one of the tasks.

Often he would get distracted and I may find he had moved onto something else and wouldn’t have accomplished any of the tasks. Homework was more often than not a struggle most of the time – Ben has two other brothers and finding the time and to be honest patience (SOME DAYS) was taking its toll on family life. Homework often ended in tears … and I could see his frustration building especially as he became a little bigger and more was expected of him at school.

I don’t mean to compare him to his older brother but he rarely read any books and it was always something we as a family encouraged. He fought with his brothers often and now I can see looking back that he was confused and frustrated – who could blame him?

So to school – Ben had many friends – anyone who meets him instantly is drawn to him – he is a bright, warm, bubbly child but he often said that he didn’t feel that he fit into a group and felt alone at school. He said that he had people to talk to and have fun with but felt a little like an outsider – this as you can imagine would break your heart and to see him sad like this at times was unbearable.

This I must stress has all changed and his whole world has opened up and he skips into school now and is so much happier. Academically Ben to an extent was holding his own at school – but each teacher he has had through the years always came back with the same … he lacks concentration at times, he can’t seem to focus on his work, daydreams, so this coupled with what I saw at home over many years led me to Cluas.

I could see that he was struggling not just with school work and relationships – but everyday life at home – he was always in trouble for now paying attention / not concentrating / lacking interest / not caring….and I was turning into the mother from hell !!!! God love the poor child!

He gets along fine with his brothers and I guess will always have bad days … that’s what brothers are there for – to fight with and learn from I guess but it must be said that although arguments happened and will in the future, Ben is not a physical child and any trouble can be smoothed over pretty easily.

Ben will go out to play with the other boys on the road now – even without his older brother – whom I think used to mind him and almost fill in the blanks for him. Before I did notice on many occasions that he wouldn’t go out to play when people called and this concerned me greatly but now that has all changed.

He is definitely happier at school. He has made new friends and seems to have found a new group of people – while still retaining his old pals. He has found boys he has stuff in common with – I think his communication skills have improved greatly and is discerning what he likes and doesn’t.

We had a chat last night as we knew we were on the last leg of our journey with Cluas so to speak and Ben says he can hear things in school more easily – for instance, where he sits there are photocopiers on the corridor outside his classroom – before when he heard them he couldn’t stop hearing them and he wouldn’t be able to listen to the teacher and now he can still hear the noise but can recognise that he doesn’t need to listen to it and can continue to hear the teacher. Likewise he says when two classmates at either side of him say something at the same time he can control who he wants to listen to and answer.

He has taken to writing poetry and I was at a recital yesterday where he stood on stage and recited it to us. He reads so much more now and even has an opinion on what books and authors he likes. His sport has improved – he says it is easier to play now as he can differentiate who is calling to pass the ball!

I have seen a dramatic change in Ben and how he responds to us at home – he will hear you when you call him, He is far more aware of what is going on around him and I don’t have to keep calling him to get a response like I did before. Insofar as completing tasks he is now far more switched on – he won’t always get the three or four thing I may ask him to, but very often he does … go Ben !!!!

I have learnt from this too – how to slow down a little when I speak and not to expect too much and I think that helps a lot too.

Natalie, June 2014

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