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Attention in Early DevelopmentThemes and Variations$
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Holly Alliger Ruff and Mary Klevjord Rothbart

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195136326

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195136326.001.0001

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Early Manifestations of Attention Deficits

Early Manifestations of Attention Deficits

(p.199) 11 Early Manifestations of Attention Deficits
Attention in Early Development

Holly Alliger Ruff

Mary Klevjord Rothbart

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the development of problems in children's control of attention, e.g. Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD) and attention deficit without hyperactivity. In longitudinal studies, precursors to ADHD can be identified as early as 2 to 3 years of age and include restlessness, disobedience, and lower levels of concentration. Attention problems without hyperactivity are predicted by low attention at 1 and 2 years, accompanied by temperamental low activity and approach, low sensitivity to sounds and sights, low distractibility, and high negative mood. Inattention problems are also found in connection with regulatory disorders and early childhood autism. Hypotheses about underlying processes in the development of deficits are reviewed. These include neurodevelopmental lag, extremes in temperamental reactivity and self-regulation, and individual differences in optimal levels of arousal. Lastly, the chapter discusses imbalances in inhibition and activation, and problems in maintaining alertness and motor preparedness as sources of attention problems.

Keywords:   attention deficits, temperament, regulatory disorders, autism, neurodevelopmental lag, reactivity, self-regulation, effortful control

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