Attention Problems and Interventions
What we are interested in
At any one time we are only aware of a fraction of the information around us. Attention is the term for the mechanisms that control what is uppermost in our minds. To complete a school task, for example, we may need to resist our attention being captured by distracting and currently not goal-relevant information. This ability to control our attention improves with age. Problems with attention have been reported in many developmental conditions and, not surprisingly, are linked with poor school achievement. We are interested in what causes attention problems, how best to assess them and developing ways to help children, families and schools to maximize their potential.
How we do it
We carry out research with children between 5 and 16 years old. In a typical study, we start by administering a short set of assessments to identify the group of children we want to work with. We then carry out a more comprehensive set of assessments, before administering an intervention (e.g. working memory training). After the intervention is complete, we reassess the children so that we are able to measure changes in performance.
What we have found so far
Our group has developed one of the most widely used battery of tests of attention for children (The Test of Everyday Attention for Children TEA-Ch). A particular focus of our work has been on a link between poor sustained attention skills and attention biases in children’s perception of the world. We are interested in exploring why this occurs, how important it is clinically and whether special training can improve sustained attention and spatial awareness.
How to take part
If you work in or are connected to a school and would like to take part in this research, or find out more, please email Dr Tom Manly (firstname.lastname@example.org)