Surprising facts about Attention Deficit and ADHD

Attention Deficit, ADD or ADHD is our inability to not pay attention to what is not important.

Surprising facts about Attention Deficit and ADHD

Traditionally attention deficit is described as a condition where a person:

  • is easily distracted, misses details, forgets things, and frequently switches from one activity to another;
  • has difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task;
  • does not seem to listen when spoken to or daydreams;
  • has difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others;
  • struggles to follow instructions.
These descriptions and the word "deficit" all indicate that something is missing, such as attention, concentration and focus. However the underlying cause of attention deficit may be something quite different.

The real cause may be that if we pay attention to too many things, we can't pay attention to what is really important. The cause is thus not a deficit, but an overload.

A key function of the brain - maybe even the most important task of the cognitive brain - is to delete input, simplify situations and ignore information in order to retain input, understand situations and pay attention to information.

Our senses send about 11 million bits of information to our brain each and every second of the day. But we can only pay attention to a tiny bit of this, well below 100 bits per second. So we need to delete, filter, simplify and ignore more than 99.999 % of all the input we receive through our senses (eyes, ears, touch, smell, taste, balance) in order to pay attention to what is important.If we do not delete, filter or ignore enough of this constant input from our senses, we will get overloaded with information, leading to the classical signs of attention deficit. In more severe cases this may even lead to autistic-like behaviour.

Attention Deficit, ADD or ADHD is our inability to not pay attention to what is not important.

Fortunately it is possible to learn to be better at this task of deleting, filtering and ignoring, using sophisticated brain training techniques. SAS has developed programmes that often are able to instil new permanent ways of processing sensory input in just a few weeks. Attention deficit and sensory overload can be effectively tackled for most.
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