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Sustained and selective attention in children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Specific Learning Disabilities.
Micallef, S., Anderson, J., Anderson, V., Robertson, I.H., & MANLY, T.
Clinical Neuropsychological Assessment, 2, 1-23
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This study investigated the attentional profiles of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disability (LD), using a newly developed measure of attentional ability, the Test of Everyday Attention for Children (TEA-Ch: Manly et al., 1999). The TEA-Ch provides information with respect to attentional abilities within a number of specific component areas, including sustained and selective attention. It was hypothesised that, by employing the TEA-Ch, distinct and separable attentional profiles would be identified for the two syndromes, thus extending current knowledge of the cognitive characteristics of these two developmental disorders. The study included four groups of children: (1) children with attention deficits and learning disabilities (ADHD+LD); (2) children with attention deficits and normal learning abilities (ADHD); (3) children with normal attention, but learning disability (LD); and (4) a control group. Results revealed children with ADHD and ADHD+LD performed similarly, demonstrating problems in sustained attention and visual selective attention. In contrast, children with LD exhibited impairments in the areas of sustained attention and auditory selective attention. These findings support the view that ADHD is a diagnostic category distinct from LD, with each disorder associated with a distinctive pattern of attentional performance. Further, appropriate neuropsychological evaluation may facilitate accurate diagnosis and treatment of children with these conditions.