Attention Disorders and Peers
The link between attention disorders and a child’s social well-being, which stays relevant in adulthood as well, is not coincidental, and stems from the characteristics of the disorder.
Attention Disorders and Peers: Difficulties
Children who deal with attention disorders tend to demonstrate impulsive behavior struggle with self-control, and are easily distracted. In the majority of cases, difficulties in delaying gratification will manifest, along with a tendency to lose their patience and “disconnect” into their own inner world. Such difficulties lead to complex challenges in the social realm.
Despite their willingness to spend time with friends, they tend to over and over find themselves in situations of conflict, insult or anger that may lead to other children shying away from them and avoiding inviting them over to social gatherings.
That pattern may lead to another issue: children with attention disorders will create less opportunities for social experiences, and as a consequence will diminish their ability to acquire the needed skills for optimal social interaction.
Attention Disorders and Peers: Example
Rachel cannot wait for her turn to answer a question in class and so interrupts Karen’s turn. Karen see it as insulting, and refuses to play with her later in the break as a result. While his good friend Jonathan confides in him that he failed in the exam, Jacob is unable to maintain his attention and “disconnects” into his own world. Jonathan slowly stops sharing stuff with Jacob and drifts away from him as he feels he is inattentive and not caring enough. Danny is having difficulties following the rules of a game and as such constantly breaks them, what makes his friends angry with him and decide not to invite him to the next game.
At any single moment our senses receive a countless amount of stimuli from the environment: noises, feelings, smells, colors, sights and so forth. These stimuli immediately evoke emotions, thoughts and reactions from us. Just think to yourself what would happen if we could not help but react to every single stimulus – we would not be able to maintain a stable train of thought, listen to others, make a rational decision, or carry out a task from beginning to end. One of the main systems involved in our functioning in this world is our attention system. A sound attention system allows us to screen irrelevant information, focus our attention on what matters, and allows to more efficiency process the information that we are exposed to. In cases of difficulties in attention functions, such as with Rachel, Jacob and Danny, occurs a loss of information that is vital to the understanding and interpretation of social situations, or there is an excess information that causes difficulties in focusing on what one is trying to do at the moment. As a result, many children that deal with attention disorders are having a hard time integrating and deciphering social situations.