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Thursday, November 21, 2013

First Grade: A Watershed Year for Children with Attention Problems

From Smart Kids with LD

November 18, 2013

What a difference a year makes!

A new study has found that children who exhibit attention issues in first grade lag behind their peers in school for years to come; in contrast, children whose attention issues emerge in 2nd grade are more likely to perform on par with their peers as time progresses.

Although previous research has linked early attention problems to academic struggles, this study is the first to identify first grade as a watershed year, impacting future school performance.

For this study a team of Duke University psychologists analyzed grades as well as reading and math scores for 386 children before and after first grade, and again after fifth grade. Their findings showed that children with attention issues in first grade performed worse than their peers after fifth grade.

The results pertained to children whose attention issues were diagnosed, undiagnosed, or temporary.

As reported in an article on the Medical News Today (MNT) web site, researcher David Rabiner believes that “the results may reflect the critical importance of first grade as an academic building block. Children who suffer from attention problems in first grade fail to acquire key academic skills, and their performance suffers in later years as a result.”

“Even when these children overcome their attention problems, they continue to struggle in school,” Rabiner told MNT. “The earlier we can identify children who are struggling with sustaining attention in the classroom and intervene to help them, the better.”

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