Published on October 23, 2013 at 4:05 AM
The results may reflect the critical importance of first grade as an academic building block, Rabiner said. 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.
Not all first-graders who struggle to focus in school have ADHD, Rabiner added. But whether they have diagnosable ADHD or not, he said it's important to help them at the outset of their academic careers, when they are acquiring essential building block skills.
"Even when these children overcome their attention problems, they continue to struggle in school," Rabiner said. "The earlier we can identify children who are struggling with sustaining attention in the classroom and intervene to help them, the better."
The study emphasized first and second grades, but Rabiner noted that future researchers would do well to look at kindergarten as well. Data for the study was collected beginning in the early 1990s. Since that time, kindergarten has assumed a more important academic role in many schools.
Source: Duke University