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Teaching the Autistic Child to Pay Attention

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Visual attention is one of the four brain pillars that we all use to support our ability to understand the world around us. The brain relies on these four pillars – visual attention, visual memory, auditory attention, and auditory memory – to help us connect our sense organs to the brain so that we can manage our everyday lives.

Many children that are labeled autistic are actually Visual thinkers, or what we call Maverick Minds. Mavericks use the visual processing pathway as their first language. When they are able to use visual attention in harmony with the brain’s verbal counterparts, then they can develop the receptive and expressive language abilities needed to listen, speak, read, and write.

Visual attention can be tightly formatted by training three sets of skills. You can teach your autistic child to pay attention by helping them master these skills in a fun, failure-free learning sanctuary. The components of visual attention are: the zoom lens, the visual discriminator and the scanner.

The zoom lens
The visual zoom lens allows the brain to concentrate, focus, and change focus. It helps the brain make sense of what would otherwise be an incoherent jumble of visual input. When you look at a picture of a sailboat in the water beneath a sunny sky, you use the zoom lens to distinguish the boat from the water and the sky. Without thinking about it, you can change your focus from the boat to the water or from the water to the sky. You can develop your child’s zoom lens, by having them locate images hidden in pictures.

The Visual Discriminator
The brain’s visual discriminator compares and contrasts what it sees. The discriminator allows the brain to distinguish between objects by identifying characteristics that are similar and characteristics that are different. For example, dogs and cats have many traits in common but they are distinguished by a few distinct identifiers. To develop the discriminator, you show your child an image and ask your child to find the same image in a different picture.

The Visual Scanner
The visual scanner is the brain’s search engine. It allows the brain to scan a set of data quickly to locate key information.

When you train the three components of visual attention you gain support for auditory attention. You will want to use fun exercises and rewards to teach your child to pay attention. To effectively build the visual attention system you will also need to reduce verbal input. The visual and auditory systems should not be competing for your child's attention. When doing the exercises with your child, you will want to minimize your talking. As a result, your child will be able to isolate the visual attention system and begin to load visual memory. The more you talk, the more you reduce visual memory capacity.

As you're working with your child, the goal should an 80% success rate. You want your child to succeed and have fun as this will positively reinforce the behavior. Provide clear instructions at the beginning of each exercise. This should be a structured play time and not one of stress or frustration. You can visit www.ebrainlabs.com for fun exercises and additional information on teaching your child to pay attention. Visit www.ebrainlabs.com for more information or to sign up for a free seminar.

Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/

About the Author:

Cheri L. Florance, Ph.D. is a world renowned expert on the brain and communication. Dr. Florance has doctoral degrees in Speech and Hearing Science and Psychology, and a 5 year post doctoral degree in Brain Science from the National Institutes of Health. Her scientific achievements have been recognized by The White House, US Office of Education and US Rehabilitation Commission. She has been interviewed by Oprah, on the cover of USA Today and featured in numerous articles and television shows. Learn more by calling 1-866-865-9820 or sending an email to support@cheriflorance.com

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