4 May 2022


Focusing and Shifting Attention in Children with Heavy Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Essay (Any Type)

Words: 754

Pages: 3

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Literature Review

For the research, contributions in the articles of the following authors were used: Dennis, Bendersky, Ramsay & Lewis (2006), who talked of the various signs and symptoms in children who were prenatally exposed to cocaine and the resulting slow response in shift of audio-visual Mattson. Calarco, Lang & Aimee (2006) focused on the same slow response impairment of audio-visual shifts in children who had been prenatally exposed to alcohol. Watson, Westby & Gable (2007) article provided a framework which would aid these children exposed to prenatal alcohol and drug exposure and provide for their needs. It is from these three articles that an understanding of the signs and symptoms displayed from various children with reference to the impairment on the response to audio-visual shifts can be determined. At the same time, through the articles, a framework can be developed which seeks to address the needs of such children. 

The Articles employed the Sampling Method to derive the results employed in the articles. The children were 40 aged 9-14 and divided into two groups, one with exposure to heavy prenatal alcohol exposure (FASD) who had been referred by healthcare professionals in the community; the other without and used as the control group (CON). They had been chosen from the community through questionnaires. For the studies, the children had to have evidence of developmental problems. To avoid any ethical conundrums, the authors used proven facts that were supported by several case studies in order to develop their article. Through analysis of the children, different Neuropsychological deficits such as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) were determined. The influence of alcohol and drug exposure at the prenatal level could vastly affect the child’s development which consequently leads to learning, physical, behavioural and intellectual disabilities. 

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Research Design

There is a significant rise in the identification of Prenatal Exposure to drugs and alcohol as the main cause of major health issues in children. Empirical Evidence derived from research carried out on children who were prenatally exposed to alcohol and drugs continues to show the positive correlation between the adverse effects among infants and children due to maternal use of alcohol and drugs. Through the articles used for this study, the lack of a relevant and efficient framework in educational settings is associated with failure to categorize the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol and different types of drugs. The objective of the research is to analyse and compare the severity of prenatal exposure to alcohol and various drugs through school performances of prenatally exposed students.

In order to develop a Framework to address these needs, a Qualitative Paradigm would be employed as the research design. It allows the use of a deductive research approach, this research approach provides the progression from general to specific, and the development of a deeper understanding of the phenomena under study as the research design has the ability to describe the subject being studied in their own words and conditions. In this way, the Research study would provide credible and reliable data. In identifying sources for this research Design, the Archival Approach was employed as the authors were unable to retrieve current empirical evidence to support the study in place, hence, a qualitative research using Archival research as the employed strategy would check into historical data of the various children who were prenatally exposed to Drugs and the differences between themselves and other children of the same age with variating Prenatal Statistics.

From the research design, however, observation of an ethical practice would be required. In determining the framework, much of the information derived would be from existing literature. Ethics requires that a person conform to the set standards regardless of the study design, and thus, it would be prudent to seek consent from the authors, publishers or organizations of the articles before progressing to utilize their material for the research. In addition, an approval consent from the College Ethics review committee on the research design to be employed would be required to ensure that conformity to qualitative research standards are maintained. 

Establishing the link between the type of drug to which a child was prenatally exposed to, and the severity of the outcomes in cognition is important first, in the development of appropriate management frameworks that would yield desirable results depending on the case, hence psychologists will be better placed to diagnose and recommend appropriate management strategies. Second, it will inform policy because identification of drugs that cause the most severe outcomes implies that proper counter measures will be enacted to regulate the use of such drugs among expectant women. The outcome will be a decrease in the number of affected children, hence reducing the burden on psychiatric care.


Dennis T., Bendersky M., Ramsay D., & Lewis M. (2006). Reactivity and Regulation in Children Prenatally Exposed to Cocaine. Development Psychology, 42(4): 688-697.  

Mattson, Sarah N, Calarco, Katherine E, Lang & Aimee R. (2006). Focused and shifting attention in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure. Neuropsychology, 20(3): 361-369

Watson S. M. R., Westby C. E., & Gable R. A. (2007). A Framework for addressing the needs of Students prenatally exposed to alcohol and other drugs. Heldref Publications, 52(1): 25-31. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). Focusing and Shifting Attention in Children with Heavy Prenatal Alcohol Exposure.


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