Early Manifestations of Attention Deficits

Holly Alliger Ruff and Mary Klevjord Rothbart

in Attention in Early Development

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195136326
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199894031 | DOI:
Early Manifestations of Attention Deficits

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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

Chapter.  9657 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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