Occupational Therapy -> Attention


Attention is a cognitive process in which an individual focuses on one or more aspects of his or her environment. There are different types of attention including divided, selective, and sustained. Occupational therapists address attention in order to improve an individual’s ability to participate and complete daily occupations with independence. Attention may be impacted by sensory processing challenges, personal needs not being met (tired, hungry, feeling unsafe, etc.), overwhelming or underwhelming environment impacting level of alertness, lack of motivation or interest in the task, etc.

Reference links

  • Effectiveness of a Mindfulness-Based Social–Emotional Learning Program On Psychosocial Adjustment and Neuropsychological Maturity In Kindergarten Children 2
    Author: Moreno Gomez, and Cejudo - Our findings suggest that mindfulness programs may be effective in promoting psychosocial adjustment and improving neuropsychological variables in young children. MindKinder program could enhance self-control and consequently decrease maladaptive behaviors like aggression, hyperactivity, anxiety, attention deficit, academic problems, and disruptive behavior. Improvement in social skills could be due to enhanced regulation of the intra- and inter-personal emotions fostered by the program. Improved non-verbal development, visual perception and attention processes. Citation: Moreno Gomez, Alfonso José & Cejudo, Javier. (2019). Effectiveness of a Mindfulness-Based Social–Emotional Learning Program on Psychosocial Adjustment and Neuropsychological Maturity in Kindergarten Children. Mindfulness. 10. 111-121. 10.1007/s12671-018-0956-6.
  • Successful Participation At School: Strategies For All Students 0
    Author: American Occupational Therapy Association - School occupational therapy practitioners promote students’ successful and independent participation across school based routines and settings. Through ongoing team collaborations, including those with students, occupational therapy practitioners foster student access and progress through curricular and extracurricular activities. Occupational therapy practitioners offer evidence-based interventions that diminish or eliminate barriers to participation and build competencies required for learning, positive behavior, and social participation. Occupational therapy practitioners use data collection methods to monitor the effectiveness of interventions and supports like those suggested in this document.
  • Specific Sensory Techniques and Sensory Environmental Modifications For Children and Youth With Sensory Integration Difficulties: A Systematic Review 2
    Author: Bodison and Parham - Preschoolers with ASD and tactile over-reactivity may be particularly appropriate for Qigong massage, which has moderate to strong evidence to support its effectiveness when provided as QST. The evidence for the effectiveness of weighted vests with children with ADHD is limited, and it is insufficient for children with ASD. Occupational therapy practitioners should cautiously consider using weighted vests to support attention in the classroom for elementary school-age children with ADHD. The evidence for slow linear swinging is insufficient with respect to immediate effects on attention. Occupational therapy practitioners should not expect that slow linear swinging will immediately improve attention of preschoolers with ASD during tabletop activities. Insufficient evidence supports the effectiveness of regularly incorporating specific sensory techniques into classroom routines for preschoolers with ASD, so occupational therapy practitioners should consider the use of this intervention cautiously. Moderate evidence supports sensory modifications to the dental care environment. Occupational therapy practitioners who serve children with ASD should consider collaborating with dental professionals to explore using this new intervention. Citation: Stefanie C. Bodison, L. Diane Parham; Specific Sensory Techniques and Sensory Environmental Modifications for Children and Youth With Sensory Integration Difficulties: A Systematic Review. Am J Occup Ther January/February 2018, Vol. 72(1), 7201190040p1–7201190040p11. doi: https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2018.029413
  • Impact of the Application of Behavioral Principles On Children’s Participation In Occupational Therapy From the Therapist’s Perspective 2
    Author: Brown and Myers - Interventions utilizing positive reinforcement, visual schedules, and shaping can contribute to decreased challenging behaviors and increased on-task performance in therapy sessions among participants. Citation: Sandra Brown, Christine Myers; Impact of the Application of Behavioral Principles on Children’s Participation in Occupational Therapy From the Therapist’s Perspective. Am J Occup Ther November 2018, Vol. 72(4_Supplement_1), 7211515231p1. doi: https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2018.72S1-PO3022
  • Variables Related to Successful School-Based Practice 1
    Author: Case-Smith, Jane.  - Three themes were identified: "Finding the key" described a procedural reasoning process in which the participants searched for the underlying reasons for each student's behaviors and performance. "The whole child" emphasized the importance of the student's psychosocial core and described the therapist's use of interactive and conditional reasoning to form supportive relationships with their students. Because each participant valued the student's vision of a new self, she was able to help the student achieve new social roles and improved self-esteem. "Whose success is this?" told of the importance of a cohesive team, which included the parents, to the child's success. The child's achievement of important life goals and success as a student seemed to be the result of a team effort to which occupational therapy contributed.
  • Attention Activities 0
    Author: The OT Toolbox - Use these attention activities to help kids work on their ability to pay attention in the classroom. Activities that inspire improved attention can be fun!
  • Interventions Within the Scope of Occupational Therapy to Improve Children’s Academic Participation: A Systematic Review 2
    Author: Grajo, Candler, & Sarafian - Effectiveness of interventions to improve academic participation of children and youth ages 5–21 yr. Interventions that use choice, creative engagement, collaboration with parents, and support by cross-age peers show promise in enhancing children’s attitudes toward literacy and participation in literacy activities. Low strength of evidence supports the use of weighted vests and stability balls, and moderate strength of evidence supports the use of yoga to enhance educational participation. Moderate strength of evidence supports the use of creative activities, parent-mediated interventions, and peer-supported interventions to enhance literacy participation. Strong evidence supports therapeutic practice for handwriting intervention, and low strength of evidence supports various handwriting programs as a replacement or additional instructional strategies to enhance handwriting abilities. Citation: Lenin C. Grajo, Catherine Candler, Amanda Sarafian; Interventions Within the Scope of Occupational Therapy to Improve Children’s Academic Participation: A Systematic Review. Am J Occup Ther March/April 2020, Vol. 74(2), 7402180030p1–7402180030p32. doi: https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.039016

Activity List(s)

Visual Schedule Cards

Related Disorder(s)

  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder - Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms are different in each person.
  • Neurological Conditions - Types of neurological conditions may include: Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementias, Brain Cancer, Epilepsy and Other Seizure Disorders, Mental Disorders, Parkinson’s and Other Movement Disorders, and Stroke and Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA).

Goal Bank

  • In order to improve concentration during school, Peter will remain focused on the task (seated if possible) 80% of the duration of math class by May 5, 2023 . 0
  • Candelaria will demonstrate increased self-regulation and attention as evidenced by attending to an adult directed activity for 3/5 minutes with minimal cuing as seen in 4 different therapy sessions and demonstrate at least 30% decrease in meltdowns across 6 weeks per Mom's report with in 2 therapy months over a 6 week therapy period. 4
  • Peter will advocate for his learning by requesting alternative seating options within a classroom setting on 4 /5 occasions to demonstrate improved self-awareness and self-made accessibility in the environment for improved academic participation by May 5, 2023 . 0