Saturday 27 November 2010

Now Pay Attention

Selective attention
The ability to select what you will look at is vital to cognitive growth. It introduces a sense of order and structure to a child’s understanding of the world. How visual functioning is affected depends very much on what specific part of the brain has been damaged. My experience points to a frequent problem in this area of the brain that handles and processes visual attention. This is the ability to choose what you look at and focus on. We take this so much for granted yet it is a highly complex skill. The region I am talking about is a part of the cerebral cortex called the parietal lobes. The cerebral cortex is the outer shell of the brain and is in two halves. The parietal lobes form two halves of the cortex. What is the function of this section of the cortex? This part of the brain brings information together from all the senses and presents a child with a unified understanding of his world. It acts as a centre for all sensory information. It helps to coordinate what a child sees with what the upper and lower limbs are doing and is profoundly involved with the body’s motor skills. The parietal lobes contain the centre for giving selective visual attention to something in the environment. For example it is concerned with using vision to reach out for an object such as a bottle or cup, or to see a hand and an object well enough to locate something with precision . Threading, playing with Lego bricks, reaching for and holding food are everyday tasks for a child that employ skills which are all centred in the parietal lobes. And this region of the brain is sometimes damaged when there is a sudden interruption of the flow of oxygen during birth.

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