Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Super Focused---Good or Bad?

One thing that I find really frustrating, is how hard it is to get MJ's attention. A lot of people could think it is an ADD thing that a child won't pay attention and is focused on something else, but it is a little different with Asperger's.

I've had a hard time when I'm talking to him or teachers are talking to him and he is so focused on some picture on the wall, or some glue stuck to a desk that he isn't paying attention. He hardly looks at us when we're talking to him (but that is a story for another post), although I am often surprised when I think he's not paying any attention or listening, but he can recall everything I've told him.

With Asperger's you have a sort of great ability to be super focused on something. It can be great that you can accomplish a lot because you don't lose focus, but at the same time, it can be bad if you are focused in on the wrong thing.

Like, great, you are focused on doing your work, and that's wonderful, but what if you need to focus on something else now?

Or, what if you need to be doing something else, but you are too busy focusing in on some weird design or sound, or something else, that you can't do your work?

It can go both ways. With MJ, one of the comments that had come from the teachers was that he was supposed to be doing his work, yet she could see him staring at the wall for a half hour looking at who knows what and then get nothing accomplished.

One of the tests they did was on MJ's auditory processing. They told us that he had some sort of a right ear advantage that interfered with the way his brain processed things. Basically this meant that he must be cued in before being told anything important.

OK, so I already knew this---I had been dealing with getting him cued in for years, but it was nice to be able to tell the teachers that this was a real medical thing and they needed to touch his desk or make sure that he is focused on them ready to take in the information.

So, hyper focus, good or bad? It can be good as long as directed in the right place and if we can cue him in at the first place.

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