Why does he have two audio things going on at once?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    difficult child 2 will consistently have the TV on in his room AND his music playing at the same time -- at comparably loud volumes. What is THAT all about? Sometimes he'll also have headphones on and be playing his gameboy unit at the same time! I go in there and tell him he has to choose ONE thing to listen to/watch, not two, NOT THREE. I just don't get this.:crazy2:
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    My difficult child does the same thing. He likes to watch th action on TV but not always listen to the "boring" stuff they say so he listens to the music while he's watching. If what he's watching looks interesting, he'll pause the music and listen to what the TV or game is saying. I don't get it either but hey, as long as he's not bothering me with the volume, I let him be. His "multitasking" is a lot different than mine. LOL
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    J will play with his DS, with the TV on. I don't allow it - one screen's more than enough!!!
  4. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    husband has explained to me that its like have 4 different conversations at once. He can have on 4 things and be able to "hear" each of them. He forgets that I can't do this. He'll try to talk to me while watching a show and expect me to be able to watch the show and talk about it at the same time. (He is talking about it while he is talking over the parts he is talking about, so I don't get to listen to either.)
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    'S ok. I can't get it either... J will start talking about something while I'm posting here and if I don't stop, y'all think I'm a blithering idiot. I type some of what he says! That doesn't usually go with what I'm posting, so...
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Flip. It's easy. You mean you can't??? I don't get it.
    (but I'm ADHD. Oh. Right. We might be a fair portion of the population, but not "everybody" is)

    I mean, I could, until I developed a hearing problem and now I can't hear anything!

    Multiple theories here - I've read all of them somewhere over the years (different sources), and have seen all of them at work at one time or another...
    1) Self-stimulation. I don't know about Aspies, but ADHDers need extreme stimulant - max Concerta doesn't even come close. Combine medications, caffeine, and adrenalin... and maybe we're getting close. How do you get the adrenalin going? either high risk behavior, or complex mental challenges. (so take your pick - would you rather he was listening to 3 things at once, or playing chicken on the highway?)

    2) Self-protection. When you've been bullied all your life, you get really good at hearing what's being whispered at the back corner of the classroom - while the teacher is talking (and trying to be heard over the classroom radio playing background music). Do it long enough, and it not only seems normal - anything else no longer seems normal, so you re-create normal.

    3) High-speed brain. As in - think of an engine revving at top speed - if it wasn't for certain safety mechanisms, the engine would fly apart. ADHD brains, when they get "in the groove" on a task (called hyper-focus), are running very high and very hot. The extra mental work of listening to multiple things is a bit like a flywheel - burns of some excess mental energy so things don't go flying apart.

    I've done all 3 of the above AT THE SAME TIME.
    Don't you DARE distract me or try and get my attention... I'm in another world, thank you. You can talk to me when my spaceship gets back.

    Seriously? The rule shouldn't be "how many things do you have on". It should be - how effective are you being at the important task at this moment - even if the "important task" is a video game.
    Teach them to recognize what they are doing, and to understand why they are doing it.
    Then help them look at whether or not it is effective in this particular situation.
    Harder - but just as important - is to then teach them to consider how it affects others. THIS factor shouldn't change whether or not they multi-task this way... but it may change where, when and/or how its done.
  7. keista

    keista New Member

    My Dad did this (highly suspected Aspie). He'd have the TV on in the living room loud enough to hear when he was in the kitchen. He'd be sitting at the table reading the newspaper, and right next to him was the radio, on and loud enough to be heard in the living room. The TV was set to news, and the radio was talk radio, and the newspaper, well it's the newspaper. On rare occasion, the TV or radio would go to static. LOUD static is one of the most annoying noises, but it never seemed to bother him. His wife won't tolerate this anymore, but she's the one that has to turn the stuff off - he refuses.

    Why he did this? No clue, but difficult child 2 is NOT alone
  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Keista, that sounds like my father in law :)

    Insane, I appreciate your putting the flip side up for consideration. I hadn't thought of it that way, and I think much of what you say is true. husband does this every night to a degree. He has the TV on and he's watching it and playing spider solitaire for hours. It's how he unwinds.

    The issue for me is two-fold. First has to do with the power consumption -- is it really necessary to have all of that going on at once? Second has to do with the disruption for the rest of the household, because even with his door closed, the cacophony is maddening at times.

    I used to object when he was listening to his music while doing homework, but I found that for things like math, it actually helped his concentration. Not so much for reading -- it affected his comprehension too much. So we do compromise when it's effective, and I put my foot down when it doesn't work.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    OK... how creative do you want to be? Are you married to a first-class handy-man, or at least related to one? If so... set up an exercise bike that is designed to charge a battery up. The battery is connected to a power inverter (to turn it into standard household power). He can then use all the power he wants - as long as he runs all of it off the battery. If he wants more power, he has to put in more time on the bike... which doesn't cost YOU a thing (except maybe some extra calories) once you pay for the set-up. The real point in the set-up isn't to reduce the cost of power... its to link power-usage with effort... which automatically limits how much time he can spend with all this stuff turned on.

    And... back to the electronics store... He needs a smallish mixer board... the kind they use for sound systems. He can plug multiple inputs into the thing, and put all of the outputs to a single set of headphones - he can even control how much of which input gets through. If he has more than one item on, OR if others are being "inconvenienced", he can be requested to switch to headphones. Right now, that would mean only having one thing on... which, as you see, doesn't quite work. This way, he can have his cake, and you can have your quietness.

    As long as there is enough $$ around, its amazing the problems that can get solved. But $$ isn't always around when you need it... so these are just left-curve ideas to get your thinking cap primed.

    WARNING: If you decide to try the mixer/headphone route, you need a pre-arranged signal to get his attention. Like maybe flashing the bedroom light off and on (or on and off, depending...). Because I'll guarentee he will NOT hear you!
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
  10. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    I am an adult ADHD. If I only have one thing going at a time I have a tremendously difficult time staying with it. I work the best when more then one project is up. I will write the code for a program while writing the users document, while composing an unrelated e-mail, while the music is going. If you take it away from me I fall apart. Since my concentration breaks quickly it helps to have something else for it to land on.

    My son also plays a computer game, while watching TV. I read a book while watching TV. I would never dream of making him chose one. Although it is fair to turn the volume down if it gets distracting.

    Also I believe that the books "Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Universe" is a wonderful test for ADHD. He changes subjects so rapidly it makes ones head spin. I loved it! The only book I ever read that worked like my mind does. My non ADHD friends can't get past the first paragraph.

    Last thought.

    I have a friend that gives space hardware presentations to schools. (as in orbiting satellites). He believes in giving the kids things to be productively distracted with. While he gives his presentation, he will have a video going in the back ground, and will pass out about twice as many pictures as there are kids in the room. He all so passes out hardware examples, and might have a demonstration going at the same time. He believes that if the kids have troubles paying attention to him, they should get something out of the video, or picture, or hardware. We ADHD ones get something out of all of it.
  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    LOL! I adore the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I'm not ADHD, but that dry British humor... Yeah!

    I wonder, though - I also can't "just" watch TV, I must read at the same time. Background noise while reading. Last night I made dinner, filled out J's school forms, and played FarmVille all at the same time...
  12. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three


    I think you are a little ADD (I took out the hyperactivity component, because is sounds like you don't display it). Only you have never been diagnosed. And, you probably have never been diagnosed because you manage it so well that you have turned it into a positive multi-tasking benefit.
  13. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Gcv, it sounds like your difficult child is polychronic. Common in ADHD, common with some flavours of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), but out there in the "neurotypical" population as well.



    ersonally, I find that if I'm working on a task that needs extreme focus, I have to have a minimum of 2 other things on the go at the same time, or I can't focus on the critical one. It's almost as though I need to cause a distraction and then use part of my brain to suppress the distraction in order to avoid wandering off into the back pastures of my mind and getting lost amidst the daisies. I can often be found:

    Watching telly with closed captioning on and the volume off
    Listening to music
    Knitting, and
    Reading the newspaper

    If I'm in a position where I can't do all that (e.g. in a meeting at work where working on the computer and listening to music would be frowned upon), I practice tap-dance steps under the table or find some other fidget to occupy the distractable-by-shiny-objects portion of my brain, so the rest of me can get on with the matters at hand.

    Maybe try to work out ways that difficult child can have multiple streams of input without disrupting the family's peace (or budget). I like Insane's suggestion of a pre-arranged signal too.

  14. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Miss KT has to have at least two things going at once, which bothered me greatly during the learner's permit phase of her driving. Honestly, she drove better with the radio on and talking than she did when it was quiet in the car.

    And today, during her long drive, she told me she got bored with just driving and listening to the radio, so she started meowing. Sigh.
  15. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Lasted edited by : May 26, 2014
  16. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Trinity, that's exactly husband and both the difficult child's to varying degrees. easy child and I tend to do one thing at a time, though I can switch to multitasking fairly easily. I think my internal clock is better than husband's for this type of activity, because he often starts something, goes on to another task, then completely forgets how long he's been away from the first one and ends up over cooking, over filling, etc. He also doesn't do well with supervising children while doing multiple tasks, and perhaps that speaks to his auditory processing problems. I'm able to listen to what's going on downstairs while I'm ironing and watching TV upstairs and simultaneously assess whether children are fighting or about to begin a fight, are getting into something in the kitchen, have gone outside, etc. And then I can holler down some instruction or redirection and listen for the response without burning any garments (though I might miss some of what's going on in the program I'm watching).

    I also find I can't start mundane tasks unless there's background noise like the TV or music going on :)
  17. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Mary... what Liahona said. :)