Patterns of processing

Patterns help with processing large quantities of information, especially when there are a lot of details that are always linked together. They can make it more efficient to do things, which means that they can make it easier, they can make it faster, they can require less physical workload, nope that’s wrong – the less physical workload is because ‘a’ pattern has been identified that makes it easier for someone when they ‘use’ it. But they need to use it. They need to identify that it exists. And they need an environment that supports it to exist. Etc.

Multi-tasking is a build up of patterns. I know how to do this so I have mental blackboard space in my thinking to add in something else to do at the same time. When kids aren’t learning the patterns they are heavily reliant on those prompting them. That cue dependency  means that the kids wait til they see a slight signal of which pathway to take and then they follow it. Being able to describe patterns in details requires advanced knowledge of the tasks themselves and of the individuals learning style to match them together.

Understanding how to find patterns requires those around you to be providing or working in a pattern in the first place. Predictability is key. If a pattern is broken down into enough simplicity then others can see it. This is where being present with your attention to the exact cues is important to pick up the pattern in the first place. When people are unwell or there are other issues going on around them they can be oblivious to patterns that are highly visible and simple to spot to others which can lead to interactional difficulties with learning and teaching etc.

The source / sources of information are important. Some skills require attention to external sources, so those that surround you. Whereas other patterns require you to pay attention to internal information, so that you yourself can see whether you are successful at something or not.

Insight or ‘gut feelings’ are linked with this. Those feelings that you can’t describe, you are simply having difficulty actively describing them. There is a disconnect between your verbal versus your own physical performance skills. Not knowing why you are successful at something is the same thing. It may be that you do not know the vocabulary or you are not successful all of the time or you do not have opportunities to have interactions with others where you can talk about your skills so that the ‘words’ get an opportunity to be practiced. Yet once in that situation you can talk about it easily.

As an Occupational Therapist being able to track sources of information from external and internal sources is key. Constant assessment and analysis of details and how patterns develop and what their true purposes are can be visible over a period of time or with experience may be able to be seen instantly. Helping clients predict their own behaviours and the impact can be challenging for those who are used to doing things by themselves and who don’t listen. Providing a safe opportunity to fail is then important to assist with ‘insight’ development so that the correct pattern is then identified and able to be followed. Individuals who have been ‘forced’ to learn how to do things by themselves or who have been ‘successful’ to a certain extent in managing things in their ‘own way’ are at risk of large failures when they fail to listen to or absolutely reject information being presented to them. Safety from a mental health perspective needs to be taken into account. Individuals can go through stages of lack of insight followed by self blame when ‘their plan’ doesn’t work out for them. Being supported through the task and then through the failure of the task can require long periods of time and it is helpful to schedule 2 hour therapy sessions rather than the traditional one hour. As students transition from primary into high school the additional demands and visibility with peers accompanied by the lack of one main teacher may cause significant issues.