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Title: Tracing syndrome-specific trajectories of cognitive development : the impact of attention profiles on precursors of literacy and numeracy
Author: Steele, Ann M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 4295
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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The research presented in this thesis combined a number of aims. One was to investigate in detail the early typical development of individual cognitive domains including attention, literacy and numeracy, and consequently to investigate whether domain-general attentional abilities constrain the development of either literacy or numeracy skills in preschool to school-age children. A further aim was to test the development of the same cognitive processes in two groups of children with developmental disorders of known genetic origin; Down syndrome (DS) and Williams syndrome (WS). A combination of standardised tests, novel experimental paradigms, and questionnaire measures were employed in pursuit of these aims, and children were assessed both cross-sectionally and longitudinally one year later. In typically developing (TD) children, novel findings pointed to differential influences of cognitive constructs of sustained and selective attention on the one hand, and executive attention on the other, on reading and numeracy abilities longitudinally. In both of the atypically developing groups of children, novel and individual patterns of developmental relationships emerged in the domains of attention, literacy and numeracy. In addition, the investigation of cross-domain relationships between attentional abilities and literacy and numeracy skills evidenced typical patterns in DS children, but atypical patterns in WS children. These findings emphasize the importance of cross-syndrome, cross-domain, and fully developmental research to understand both typical and atypical profiles of cognitive development. Furthermore, teaching practice, early identification of difficulties, and interventions should consider the wider implications of potential constraints of broader cognitive domains, such as attention, on learning.
Supervisor: Scerif, Gaia ; Cornish, Kim ; Karmiloff-Smith, Annette Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cognitive development ; Attention ; Developmental psychology ; attention ; literacy ; numeracy ; Down syndrome ; Williams syndrome ; longitudinal