By Wendy Harron - March 6, 2012
Multi tasking and IM
The ability to multi task is a very important skill that we learn at a very young age. Typically when we enter a classroom, we are required to listen to a teacher while filtering out extraneous noises or while writing notes. This skill requires a tremendous amount of good quality focus that can be held even through distractions in our environment.
When I work with school aged children, this is something that I try to stress during the end of their treatment span with me. Initially, it’s VERY difficult, and every ounce of their focus is used to just remain on the beat. A good analogy that I heard once was recalling how difficult it was when starting to learn to drive. Every ounce of your being is focused on holding the wheel, using the gas and break pedals and following the rules of the road – talk about multi tasking! But eventually, after many trips to here and there, driving becomes second nature. You develop strong pathways for the skill of driving, and you are able to successfully accomplish the task even when the radio is on or someone is talking to you.
With our children who are affected by ADHD/ADD, multi tasking is a huge issue. One child described to me that his mind just “jumps” from thing to thing, and he can’t focus on anything. They can be sitting there doing their spelling words at school and a friend drops their pencil – well, they have to look at what the noise was, and then who dropped the pencil, and then maybe ask they why they dropped their pencil, and then did their pencil point break when they dropped it and on and on it goes – and then the next thing you know, the teacher says “Time’s up” and the spelling words never got finished. Does this sound familiar to you? As we get into higher-grade levels and then on to college and work the ability to shift focus or multi task becomes more and more important.
During our IM sessions, I try to have the child do something while they are performing an IM exercises. Sometimes the kids will be clapping and I will provide distractions or will open the door to the hallway where people are talking or play music out loud. Then we will move on to them actually performing a 2nd task such as doing a word search or saying their times tables or reading a book. As the children improve with these tasks, they achieve a great increase in their self-esteem – its wonderful to see! The ability to multi task increases their confidence level, as they actually are able to catch more of what is going on in their classrooms.
Because of the accuracy and feedback of the IM or IM at Home units, you are able to visually see the numbers in milliseconds change as someone is focused (low numbers) or distracted (higher numbers). This is really how I am able to show children how their ability to focus is influenced by their chatting or looking around the room or listening to things around them. Once someone is aware of their ability to focus, great progress can be made. If your child is currently having IM sessions or doing IM at home with you, ask your trainer if your child is ready for some multi tasking – it is a wonderful, functional, useful tool to have!