Kate Breckenridge, Janette Atkinson and Oliver Braddick

in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Across the Lifespan

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199594818
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738166 | DOI:

Series: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience


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This chapter analyses the developing processes of attention in early childhood, in the context of a model in which ‘attention’ comprises a number of distinct, but related, processes. First it briefly describes some of the theories of attention in typical development that have provided the basis for a model of development of attention throughout childhood and review existing data on how attention processes are affected in Williams syndrome (WS). It then describes a new test battery (the Early Childhood Attention Battery, or ECAB), based on this concept of multiple attention systems developed from neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies on adults. The ECAB was designed to extend research on the structure of the attention domain to younger (three to six years) typically developing (TD) children than had hitherto been done, but also to provide a suitable tool for the assessment of individuals with learning difficulties whose overall cognitive abilities and/or attentional capacities correspond to those seen in TD children aged three to six years. Using the ECAB, attentional disorders in WS and Down syndrome are compared. Finally, existing knowledge about attention within this framework is summarised.

Keywords: typical development; Williams syndrome; early Childhood Attention Battery; neurodevelopmental disorders; neuroconstructivist approach; down syndrome; attentional disorders

Chapter.  7503 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology

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