Addressing children’s learning problems through helping them control their attention difficulties

Authored by: Tatiana Akhutina , Gary Shereshevsky

The Routledge International Companion to Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  October  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415584630
eBook ISBN: 9780203117378
Adobe ISBN: 9781136303111

10.4324/9780203117378.ch24

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Abstract

Studies of the normal development of children show notable improvements in their inhibitory control, ability to regulate attention according to task demands and shift mental set, from age three to four (Zelazo et al. 2003; Diamond 2006; Best and Miller 2010), with subsequent further and significant improvements in these abilities from ages five to eight (Romine and Reynolds 2005; Best and Miller 2010). These developments coincide with the early years of schooling, when children face increasing demands on them in terms of learning new information, acquiring new concepts, learning strategies and social skills. Faced by these multiple demands, many normally developing children experience learning and adjustment difficulties, but for children with specific learning disabilities, developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD), neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, the new tasks can be especially challenging. In the fields of developmental and clinical neuropsychology numerous assessment instruments have been developed to target effectively the needs of these populations. However, there seems to remain a lack of targeted remediation programmes. This chapter aims to partially address this problem by providing a theoretical foundation for the creation of systematic remediation programmes aimed at developing cognitive and learning skills in preschool and school-aged children; by way of example, a targeted programme for the remediation and development of selective attention and executive control is presented.

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