Heavy prenatal exposure to alcohol in children is associated with central nervous system dysfunction. It has a devastating effect on the general intelligence, learning and visuo-spatial function. Children with prenatal exposure particularly experience deficit in attention. As there is lack of understanding regarding the pattern of shift in attention, literature review develops understanding on the topic.
The study by Mattson, Calarco, & Lang, (2006) showed that children with heavy prenatal exposure experience fetal alcohol syndrome associated with attention deficit. This indicates the teratogenic effect of drug. The study evaluated children with children with exposure and those without exposure on the basis of visual focus, auditory focus and shift of attention. Alternating response was seen for each individual group on the basis of three parameters and children with alcohol exposure mostly had deficits in visual focused attention and auditory attention. On the other hand, (Watson,Westby, & Gable, 2007) gave detail on the learning and behavioral problems in children exposed to alcohol prenatally and the risk factors of such prenatal drug exposure. Another research also exposed reactivity and regulation in children, however it was done with children prenatally exposed to cocaine and not alcohol. These children group were found to take longer time in problem solving and displayed frustration (Dennis et al., 2006).
Identified gap in research
The three article reviewed had certain gaps in research. Mattson, Calarco, & Lang, (2006) revealed lack of generalisability of the study because participants in the study were retrospectively assigned through professionals or referral. Secondly, the result of attention deficit in children might be influence by different in IQ level of different children. In addition, research by Dennis et al., (2006) focused on frustration reactivity through one task, however it shoud have been analysed through multiple task. Hence, future research must analyse executive function difficulties in each children because it is not necessary that all children with such difficulties were prenatally exposed to alcohol and other drugs. The characteristics of dysfunction may help to identify intervention needs for each children.
How research article informs future work
Despite the limitation identified in the article, they inform future research on the topic. For instance, Mattson, Calarco, & Lang, (2006) revealed that all deficits in attention in children with prenatal exposure is not global in nature and shift in attention varies across interval of time. It informed that consistency is seen in ability to focus and attention to visual stimuli, however deficit in auditory stimuli is seen over a longer interval of time. Thus, it gives the idea that attention deficit in more pervasive in visual that auditory stimuli. Hence, future research can focus on this aspect.
Benefits of research
After analyzing the research study, it is proposed to study visual stimuli that affects attention in children with prenatal exposure to alcohol and determine the ways to address the risk in this group of children. The proposed research will contribute to development in the field of psychology because gaining insight into problem of student will help in complete functional behavioral assessment. This will help in the implementation of appropriate intervention to address the problem in attention deficits of children. Hence, teachers will be more informed about reasons for deficit and this will limit unnecessary punishment of children.
Dennis, T., Bendersky, M., Ramsay, D., & Lewis, M. (2006). Reactivity and regulation in children prenatally exposed to cocaine. Developmental psychology, 42(4), 688.
Mattson, S. N., Calarco, K. E., & Lang, A. R. (2006). Focused and shifting attention in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure. Neuropsychology, 20(3), 361.
Watson, S. M., Westby, C. E., & Gable, R. A. (2007). A framework for addressing the needs of students prenatally exposed to alcohol and other drugs. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 52(1), 25-32.