Friday, October 15, 2010

Four things For Friday

1. From my neighbor and friend, who's also a pediatrician: A recent study from Sweden suggests kids with attentional difficulties may focus better in the presence of white noise. Now that's counterintuitive.  Do we need a fish tank? Or should we study at the food court at the mall?

2. We spent the morning with Stefani and her three delightful boys at the Austin Nature and Science Center. Somehow, that giant Dino Digging pit never loses its charm. Even better, the ANSC has a trading counter, staffed by a naturalist, where kids can bring the treasures they find in the wild or posters they've made and earn points, which they use to "purchase" other folks' treasures. Caroline brought in two large chunks of calcite, thanks to some help from her big brother. Never one to let a windfall burn a hole in her pocket, she promptly spent her points on ten vertebrae. The naturalist also gave the kids a mini lesson about the Mexican plums they found on the ground. Love this place.

3. We just finished listening to Peter and the Starcatchers, Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson's prequel to Peter Pan, on CD. It's an absolutely riproaring yarn narrated by a fabulous voice actor, Jim Dale. Find it at the library. We were all on the edge of our seats. And our booster seats.

4. The Texas Book Festival, Laura Bush's baby, is this weekend, and for once we're actually in town for it. We may go. I haven't decided. How can I turn down a giant book festival? If you know me, you know I feel festive about books. On the other hand, I'm not feeling jazzed about any of the authors in particular, and lately our weekends have been soooo busy, almost crazily so. Plus, I told Ian that if he finished the entire Guardians of Ga'hoole series before the movie left the theaters, I'd take him on a date to see it. This is a huge treat. The movie will probably disappoint after the books, but we all have to learn that tough life lesson sooner or later.

Have a wonderful autumn weekend!


The Never Fairy said...
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Stephanie said...

So, what did you decide about the book festival? I haven't been in a looong time. I want to want to go, but like you, nothing is jumping out at me to draw me there. If you go, I'd love to hear about it.

Galex said...

About the white noise: very funny about the mall food court! I don't know what color noise that would be, but Matt has been listening to "brown noise" at work and says it makes the hugest difference.

My possibly erroneous intiution for why meaningless noise helps is that maybe attention-challenged people have to spend a lot of mental energy or focus on monitoring auditory input. In Matt's case, he's constantly anticipating some kind of explosion. With brown noise, the auditory input is soothingly constant and meaningless. The brain can then stop trying to make sense of the auditory channel, which frees up bandwidth to focus on other tasks.

Amelia said...

Re: white noise. I too often need additional noise to concentrate. In fact, I fall asleep to ESPN radio because it allows me to get enough out of my head to sleep, but it's not SO riveting that it keeps me awake. It's a fine line.

I need distractions while driving too, or my mind will wander from the road. My doctor happens also to specialize in adult ADHD and he commented on how strange it was that those with attention problems often need multiple stimuli around them to do their work.

Don't know if this is helpful or applicable, but your post struck home with me. love, Amelia