Focused Attention requires a CD player and two sets of headphones. A headphone splitter, which allows two sets of headphones to be plugged into one player, is included with the program kit.
Players: Many people ask if they can transfer the content of the CDs to an iPod or other MP3 player. We don’t recommend this because it changes the content to a compressed file, which changes the frequency content of the music. It is fine to use your computer as a player; just don’t upload the content to the computer. Other CD players, including personal players, are fine.
Headphones: The primary user should have good quality* headphones for Focused Attention. We highly recommend using the Sennheiser HD 419**, which we have available to add on to your order. We do not recommend using ear buds (in-the-ear earphones) for this program. The listening partner can also use the Sennheiser HD 419 headphones, or any headphones.
*For the purposes of this program we will define “good quality” as $50 or more, preferably an open-type headphone, and not noise cancelling.
**We have tested the Sennheiser HD 419 and recommend it for use with the program. This headphone:
- is comfortable and lightweight
- has an over-the-ear design
- has great sound reproduction
- allows for good perception of foreground vs. background
- is a great price for the quality
Who Can Use the Program
Anyone who has problems paying attention, staying focused, or listening can use the program. It is equally appropriate for children and adults. Because it requires headphones, we don’t recommend it for children younger than 3.
If you buy the program for one child, you may find that you want to use it for the rest of the family as well. Using Focused Attention cannot hurt your child and does not produce adverse side effects. So use it with everyone!
Older adults with hearing loss due to aging have great difficulty hearing and listening in noise. Training attention in noise is great for this group.
One thing that parents and kids love about Focused Attention is that it only takes a few minutes each day. We recommend two sessions daily, and each session is only 3-6 minutes long. So even if your child is in school, this program easily fits in to a school day.
Going through the basic set of 6 CDs will take 18 weeks. After the 18 weeks you can: 1) take a break 2) repeat the program or 3) move on to the Advanced Level CDs. (The Advanced Level CDs are included if you purchase the Comprehensive Package.)
Interactive listening is required in order to maximize the benefit of the Focused Attention program. This means that the parent (or other facilitator) listens along with the child. By listening along they are able to 1) assess whether the child is paying attention to the music or not and 2) help to direct their attention to the music by performing a movement-oriented activity along with their child that goes with the music. Because interactive listening is such an important aspect of the program, we do not recommend that children do the program independently.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can the program be used more than once?
Focused Attention can be repeated as desired for continued training.
How will I know how to use all of these CDs?
The Focused Attention program includes a 40-minute instructional DVD that explains the program, correct implementation, and demonstrations of parents using it with their children. In addition there is a written listening schedule in the front of the kit. If you also have our TSI: Boost program (included in the Comprehensive Package), there are written instructions with these CDs.
Is there any research that shows this program works?
Both a field test prior to its release and our ongoing testing with our own clients have shown significant improvements after the program in listeners’ ability to listen to and process speech in noise. These reports are available on our website.
What happens if I miss a day or a week?
It is fine just to pick up where you left off.
Do kids like doing the program?
Yes, most kids really enjoy the program, especially the one-on-one interaction with the parent. The program is fun for both the child and the parent. Doing Focused Attention is easy and only takes a few minutes each day!
If the program involves music, how does that help my child listen when his teacher or I speak to him?
Focused Attention is designed to teach the listener to tune out distractions and stay focused on what they need to pay attention to. Whether they tend to be distracted by external noise or internal thoughts, we want them to stay focused on the important input. The music in Focused Attention is simply the “target” that they focus on. But the skill we are developing is the same, whether they are at school, doing homework, or listening to you.
What should I expect to see as a result of doing this program with my child?
Our goals for your child are to help them pay attention better, follow directions better, and to be less distractible.
Does the listening partner have to be a parent? Does it always need to be the same person?
The listening partner could be any adult who understand the program and how to implement it. If a child is doing the program at school, the listening partner may be a teacher or a therapist instead of a parent. As long as it is being done correctly and the interaction between the child and the listening partner is positive, it doesn’t matter who the listening partner is, and it doesn’t always have to be the same person.
Does it matter what time of day I do the program?
Focused Attention can be done any time of day. Try to choose a time when your child is more alert and attentive for your listening sessions.
Does my child have to have a specific diagnosis in order to benefit (ex. autism, auditory processing disorder)?
Anyone who wants to improve their auditory attention, decrease distractibility, and increase focus can use the program. No formal diagnosis is required.
I’m an adult with mild hearing loss. Would this help me tune in to what I want to hear instead of the background?
One of the main goals of Focused Attention is to improve your auditory figure-ground processing, the ability to listen and process speech in noise, a skill which individuals with mild hearing loss often have much difficulty with. While Focused Attention will not “fix” your hearing loss, it will hopefully help you to use your hearing more efficiently and train your attention to speech in noise.
How long before I see results?
This varies from one individual to another, and so there is no one answer. However we recommend that you complete the entire program and consider following up by repeating the program and/or moving on to the Advanced Level CDs in order to maximize your benefit from Focused Attention.
Listening in noise is hard for me as well as my child. If I buy it for my child, can I use it too?
Absolutely. This is fun and safe for everyone in the family to use.
Can I do it more than just twice a day?
We recommend doing the program a minimum of twice a day. If there are some days that you have time to do an additional session or two, that is fine. You don’t have to adjust your overall listening schedule to accommodate extra sessions. In other words, continue each CD for the specified period of time even if you have done extra sessions on some days. And remember—put a break between sessions, rather than doing them back to back.