Attention and listening problems

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What to expect

Attention and listening problems

Attention and listening is the ability to listen and attend to the information around us and then act on this information appropriately.

What are attention and listening problems?

Attention and listening problems are difficulties in listening and paying attention to the spoken information around us. An adult / child with attention and listening problems will have difficulty in acting appropriately to the spoken information that is presented to them.

Listening is a complex skill which involves the child / adult concentrating on an auditory signal which they can hear, and then filtering this information whilst ignoring other distracting signals e.g. back ground noise. Attention is a skill which involves the adult / child listening or concentrating for a sustained period of time.

Attention and listening are fundamental skills which are needed to communicate effectively. An adult / child with attention and listening problems will often experience communication difficulties which can include both expressive (verbal and written) and receptive (understanding) language.

Common characteristics of attention and listening problems in children / adults are:

  • Difficulty in attending to tasks.
  • Appearing as if they are ignoring you.
  • Easily distractible during tasks or conversation.
  • Failing to carry out tasks or instructions.
  • Talking when they should be listening.
  • Des not appear to know what to do.

Children who fail to develop appropriate attention and listening skills at the normal rate of development, will often experience additional delays in their speech a language development. Adults with attention and listening problems may similarly experience difficulties in their speech, language and communication.

Attention problems may also affect an adult / child's ability to attend to visual or written information; this again can cause a break down in effective communication.

What conditions can cause attention and listening problems?

Attention and listening problems may be acquired i.e. as the result of a head injury or as part of a progressive disease e.g. Dementia. Attention and listening problems may be present from birth and be the result of conditions such as autism spectrum disorder.

There are many conditions which can cause attention and listening problems. Some conditions which may cause attention and listening problems are:

Children

  • Hearing loss and impairments
  • Neurological problems
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Speech disorders
  • Learning difficulties
  • Communication problems
  • Physical disabilities
  • Down syndrome
  • Glue ear
  • Language delay
  • Auditory processing disorder
  • Fetal anti-convulsant syndrome
  • Sensory integration dysfunction

Adults

  • Neurological problems
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Hearing loss and impairments
  • Speech disorders
  • Learning difficulties
  • Communication problems
  • Physical disabilities
  • Mental health problems

How are attention and listening problems diagnosed?

Attention and listening problems will be diagnosed by a team of medical professionals. An initial assessment carried out by the speech and language therapist will help to identify if an adult / child has attention and listening problems.

How can speech and language therapy help with attention and listening problems?

Speech and language therapy can be very beneficial for an adult / child with attention and listening problems.

Speech and language therapy will be tailored to the individual's specific speech, language and communication needs. Speech and language therapy will also vary depending on many factors, including the child / adult's current communicative ability and also the underlying condition causing their attention and listening problems.

Speech and language therapy will aim to maximise the individual's communication to the best of their ability.

What speech and language therapy treatment can benefit attention and listening problems?

There are many types of speech and language therapy treatments which can benefit attention and listening problems. Each therapy programme will be individualised to the specific needs of the individual. Different types of treatments available for attention and listening problems can include:

Training

Training / advice for parents, carers and other professionals involved in the individual's care e.g. teachers. This type of treatment will give advice on how to maximise the individual's communication by working on their attention and listening skills.

Find out more on training.

One to one therapy

One to one therapy will work with the client on an individual basis, speech and language therapy will work on specific tasks in therapy. One to one therapy may include turn-taking exercises, this will help to increase the individual's attention and listening skills. One to one therapy can also include memory tasks to help increase the individual's attention and listening skills.

Find out more on one to one therapy.

Consultative role

A consultative role will involve the speech and language therapist giving advice and support to the individual, their parents / carers and others involved in their care. This may include advice on compensatory strategies to help support an individual's attention and listening difficulties.

Find out more on consultative role.

Home programmes

Home programmes will include take home activities which will help the individual and their parents / carers practise the skills learnt in therapy.

Find out more on therapy programmes.

Groups

Group therapy would involve treating individuals of similar abilities and difficulties; this would be beneficial for individuals to socialise, boost confidence and self-esteem within the group and also to share their experiences about their communication difficulties.

Find out more on groups.

Speech and language therapy may also involve:

  • assessments
  • school visits
  • clinic visits
  • home visits
  • reports
  • reviews
  • early intervention
  • treatments
  • alternative and augmentative communication

How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment?

To arrange an initial assessment with one of our speech and language therapists then please contact us on 0330 0885 643.

Summary

Attention and listening problems are difficulties in listening and attending to the information around us. A patient with attention and listening problems will often experience difficulties in their speech and language abilities. Speech and language therapy will aim to maximise an individual's attention and listening and also communicative ability. If you feel you will benefit from speech and language therapy then please email office@slt.co.uk, or call 0330 0885 643.





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To speak to a Speech and Language Therapist or to book an appointment, call us on 0161 883 0111 or email office@slt.co.uk

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