« choices | Main | flip flop insanity »

January 23, 2006

free candy bars today

Attention Deficit Disorder is a real problem here in Milwaukee Public Schools and I suspect else where also. No one is sure what causes the disorder but there are researchers working with owls trying to figure it out. It appears that the ability to focus vision in the direction of sound is fundamental to all vertebrates.

The brain can be selective with sounds. That explains why when I say "turn your book to page 67" in a loud voice no one seems to notice. But if I whisper "free candy bars today", I have no trouble getting the attention of everyone in the room.

All teenagers, husbands, and government workers have selective hearing to some degree and it is normal. Attention Deficit Disorder is an extreme condition. Those afflicted with it can not seem to focus on only one sound or activity for very long before being distracted. Teachers and moms reading this post already know of which I speak.

I have a student that can not do her class work by herself. It is not her intelligence but her ability to focus. I sit with her the whole time she is here and keep her on task. When she becomes distracted, I start asking her questions related to the material she is working on. I listen to her read and follow along with a copy of the material. When she looks up, it is important for me to be there in her field of vision focused on what she is doing. Every time she answers a question in any activity, I must respond with a positive comment or she starts to lose interest.

She was always lost in regular high school settings. Here in this school, she is responding well to one on one attention. It is tedious and I get nothing else done while she is here for two or three hours but it seems to be paying off. Her attention span is increasing.

I found the article below in Scientific American. It provides a rudimentary explanation of the research using owls to try and understand the mechanism that controls sound/vision synchronization. Said another way, the researchers are trying to understand the basic way all vertebrates including high school students go to a state of attention. It is a very short and fascinating read.

Owl's Ability to Link Sight and Sound Could Be Key to Treating Attention Disorders

Posted by roadapples at January 23, 2006 12:49 PM

I have ADD, always have. The only troubling aspect of ADD nowadays is the fact that some parents turn right away to medicine to control it, rather than parenting. It's the easy way out, with long-term effects that have yet to be seen.

Posted by: Fred at January 23, 2006 06:12 PM

thanks. i just spent 45 minutes doing...something. at least, i don't get bored.
and it wasn't all wasted trip.
thanks, fred,the castpost thing looks interesting, maybe even useful.
now if someone would sit with me for half an hour i could prolly finish the simple post i started about 3 hours ago. maybe.

Posted by: kim at January 25, 2006 09:19 PM