The Elephant Path: Attention Development and Training in Children and Adolescents (Hardcover)
The book presents a detailed discussion of the research in the development of a variety of attention skills in infants, children, adolescents, and adults; the alerting system, the orienting attention system, and the executive attention system. The second chapter reviews the varieties of dysfunctional attention in the modern Western world, with emphasis on the vulnerability of children to: mindlessness, distracted concentration, the problem of apportion attention across tasks, mind-wandering, reactivity, lack of coherence of mind, lack of sufficient working memory, and poor metacognitive skills. Emphasis is given to n]how multimedia, video-gaming, web browsing, and mobile devices affect attention in children. The third chapter reviews a wide range of intervention studies on training mindfulness, concentration, training to reduce mind-wandering, the effects of multitasking, and reactivity, and training to increase metacognitive skills, working memory, and executive functions. The argument is made for the importance of training sustained concentration and distraction resistance over other attention skills. The remainder of the book gives detailed instructions for training concentration skills in children, adapted to developmental age: early preoperational children (ages 4-6), late preoperational children (ages 7-9), concrete operational children (ages 8-12), and adolescents (age 13 plus). These instructions have been adapted from standard Buddhist concentration training, from Asanga's Nine Stages of Staying Concentrated], modified and adapted for Western children according to developmental age and context. The book also includes field research on how concentration and working memory training is traditionally taught to children in Tibet and Nepal.