Complexities in understanding attentional functioning among children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

Kimberly A. Lane, Jillian Stewart, Tania Fernandes, Natalie Russo, James T. Enns, Jacob A. Burack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Parental reports of attention problems and clinical symptomatology of ADHD among children with fetal alcohol syndrome disorder (FASD) were assessed in relation to performance on standardized subtests of attentional control/shifting and selective attention from the Test of Everyday Attention for Children (TEA-Ch; Manly et al., 1998). The participants included 14 children with FASD with a mean chronological age (CA) of 11.7 years and a mean mental age (MA) of 9.7 years, and 14 typically developing (TD) children with no reported history of prenatal exposure to alcohol or attention problems with a mean CA of 8.4 years and a mean MA of 9.6 years. The children with FASD were rated by their caregivers as having clinically significant attention difficulties for their developmental age. The reported symptomatology for the majority of the children with FASD were consistent with a diagnosis of ADHD, combined type, and only one child had a score within the average range. These reports are consistent with the finding that the children with FASD demonstrated difficulties with attentional control/shifting, but inconsistent with the finding that they outperformed the TD children on a test assessing selective attention. These findings are considered within the context of the complexity in understanding attentional functioning among children with FASD and discrepancies across sources of information and components of attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number119
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberMAR
StatePublished - Mar 7 2014


  • Attention deficit
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Attention switching
  • Attentional control
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • Prenatal exposure to alcohol
  • Selective attention
  • Test of everyday attention for children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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