This is super exciting for me! Needing complete quiet while working is not an unusual thing for kids in my practice. All the kids I work with have some level of trouble with coordinating their senses enough to be able to stay on task, work effectively on their own and absorb the information around them, so it is not unusual for me to see a child who needs complete quiet around him or her in order to stay with the work. An 11 year old girl that I started working with a few weeks back has had that problem for a long, long time. Her parents and teachers were used to trying to keep everything as quiet as they could while she worked. I explained to them when they first came to me me, that trying to make the world around her a completely quiet place was not realistic and wouldn't it be better to train her to be able to work around any amount of noise and still stay with her work and her track of thought? They reluctantly agreed and started working with me via webcam on these exercises to improve it, but still remained very skeptical that anything could make working with noise a talent for her, after so many years of the the opposite. We started doing what I call "Distraction Tolerance" exercises, in which I slowly build up the child's ability to handle more and more processing challenges with different kinds of and increasing noises around her. It is something we do in a very specific and supportive way so it does not overwhelm the child. Very important not to do this without appropriate guidance as it can create huge frustration and behavior if not supported and increased the right way. I am so happy to report today (yes I do see people via webcam on Saturdays and Sundays all the time), that she is finding noise around her to be insignificant in her work anymore. She plows right through it because she is so used to it now.
I have long said to my clients that what you become used to through habit, is what you will do naturally. If you become used to having all noise taken away while you work, you will only work well in a super quiet place and those don't really exist. If you have spent your life trying to make things quiet instead of training yourself to tolerate any work environment, that will forever be all you can handle. The real world has noise. We need to embrace it and change the habit! What a happy day hearing this news! We're just getting started too. More to come for this little girl!
Dr. Sherri Singer is a Processing and Motivation Skills Excellence Coach who works with you in person, 1 on 1, live via webcam. Contact Dr. Sherri
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