The measurement term capacity refers to the maximum that an object can hold. I think this term can be applied to a person when observing what he can handle at a given place and time. Let's look at all the areas a typical child most manage in a day.
- Getting ready for school. He must remember his morning routines, manage the noise in the house, remember what he needs (lunch, library books, permission slips, backpack and coat)
- School day (maintaining attention, follow directions, do non preferred tasks, manage social environments and interact with others)
- After school (go to practice, family dinner, chores, homework and manage relationships with other family members)
There are days when a child lacks much attention at school. Why? He did fine yesterday. Is he being lazy? It may be that he has reached his capacity. If he must process a lot of verbal instructions and that is a weakness, there isn't as much of his total capacity left for dealing with relationships or focusing on academics. With every child, weaknesses and strengths are very different. If certain areas or activities demand more energy then they take up a lot of the child's capacity. A child with learning differences can only do so much. For these children, many activities absorb a huge part of the total capacity. This is so important to remember when trying to help him or others who support him. Once a child reaches his capacity, he needs things that will help him decompress so there is physical, emotional and mental energy available to handle his day.
I would love to hear how you have found the effects of capacity in your family's daily life.