Attention and listening therapy
Attention and listening therapy is used to support children who have difficulties focusing their attention on a specific activity, or object for an extended period of time. As well as having the ability to shift their attention from one activity to another and have joint attention with others in order to listen to what is being said.
Attention and listening therapy can help children develop the skills needed to attend to an adult and follow instructions. This can increase the child’s ability to attend to the teacher in the classroom as well as making them ready for targeted one to one speech and language therapy.
Who is suitable for attention and listening therapy?
Attention and listening therapy is suitable for any child who is finding it difficult to attend to an activity for an extended period of time and or take part in joint attention. Children who struggle to follow an instruction as they can’t pay attention for long enough to listen to the whole instruction may also be suitable for attention and listening therapy.
How to spot a child who needs attention and listening therapy
A child who struggles with attention and listening and would benefit from attention and listening therapy can often present with the following:
- Child may appear to ignore you.
- Difficulty sitting still.
- May choose to talk when they should be listening, this could be in a group setting or in a one to one conversation.
- Struggles to recall what has been said.
- Difficulty knowing what to do after directions have been given.
- Struggles to follow instructions.
- Can only attend to one activity i.e., playing with an object or listening to somebody speaking rather than being able to do both at the same time.
- May be easily distracted.
- Struggles to attend to one activity for an extended period of time and will often jump from one activity to another.
What’s involved in attention and listening therapy?
Attention and listening therapy would involve working with the child on a one to one basis to target their specific difficulties. The speech and language therapist will create a therapy programme that targets your child’s specific needs, and include their motivators and goals to make therapy fun and appealing.
Attention and listening therapy can differ in activities and approaches according to your child’s needs. If your child has very limited attention to activities and does not have joint attention skills, the speech and language therapist may choose to work on gaining joint attention. If your child can manage joint attention but struggles to listen to instructions as they can’t focus for long enough, the speech and language therapist may choose to work on increasing their ability to focus for an extended period of time.
Sometimes the speech and language therapist may work with the parents or teachers to give advice and recommend techniques on how to develop the child’s attention skills in the home or school.
Improvements made through attention and listening therapy
Attention and listening therapy can provide many benefits to your child’s development and daily activities such as:
- Increased attention skills.
- Increased concentration on tasks.
- Increase in ability to follow instructions.
- Increased ability to attend to an activity for an extended period of time.
- Increase in joint attention.
- Increase in social communication skills.
- Increase in incidental learning.
- Increase in play skills.
- Increase in language skills.
Attention and listening skills can have a range of benefits for your child. It can help provide your child with the skills they need in order to develop key skills such as social interaction, speech and language.