Have you ever thought of counting how many thoughts are currently active in your head? Try it now and see roughly how many you have: 5, 50, 500 or just too many to count. And whose thoughts are they – yours or someone else’s?
These are the typical symptoms normally associated with ADHD and Autism; where the student received a cacophony of intrusive thoughts, visual and auditory, all at the same time, competing for his attention, with nobody is in charge. Actually, it is very prevalent in today’s busy world for many more people. This experience is exhausting and even trying to focus on just one thing, that you are really interested in, puts extreme pressure on you, amongst all the chatter. The expression a wandering mind is very apt for ADHD when a series of images connect to each other at terrific speed. With Autism they tend to come crashing in from all angles. Sometimes this experience can be outside of conscious awareness, so you may know that there are hundreds of thoughts going on, but you don’t even know what or whose they are. Does this sound familiar?
I often ask students to start by picturing a cat or a dog, checking they aren’t frightened of either. One day I goofed up and forgot to check before I asked Amy to picture a cat. She gripped the arms of the chair so tightly her knuckles went white, and she looked terrified. I asked her what was happening. She said she had a video of 100 cats on a single screen and they were all fighting! So, I started asking her what she could do. Did some of them need food? Could she let some out into the garden, etc. until she calmed down and just had one sitting on a lovely velvet cushion? She was now in control and could make progress. Can you imagine what her experience would have been like in school if someone had mentioned cats? Thank goodness, I didn’t ask her to picture a lion!!
This is an extract from my new book, The Elephant in the Classroom: Uncovering Every Student’s Natural Power of Mental Imagery to Enhance Learning. You can get 2 free chapters on this page www.empoweringlearning.co.uk.
#ADHD #AUTISM #mentalimagery #theelephantintheclassroom