Farsighted preschoolers and kindergartners have a harder time paying attention and that could put them at risk of slipping behind in school according to a new study by researchers at OSU.
An estimated 4 to 14 percent of preschoolers have moderate farsightedness, or hyperopia, but it often goes undetected in younger children. When moderate farsightedness is found, glasses aren’t always recommended because there’s disagreement about whether vision correction is appropriate for these children.
But an increasing body of evidence is showing that moderately farsighted 4- and 5-year-olds are at risk of struggling with the building blocks of learning. In the new study, which appears this month in the journal Optometry and Vision Science, researchers tested children with and without farsightedness to evaluate their attention, visual perception and the ability to integrate visual perception and motor skills.
Overall, the children who were moderately farsighted based on results of eye exams performed at the start of the study were significantly more likely to have poorer scores on the attention-related tests.
Though this study didn’t look specifically at the link between attention and learning, previous research has established that difficulties with attention can stand in the way of greater success in the classroom.
The researchers have applied for funding to do a follow-up study to determine the effect of glasses to correct farsightedness on these deficits. Until that work is complete, it remains unclear whether prescribing glasses to children in this age group will help with the setbacks the researchers have discovered.
New study at OSU is suggesting that familial structure like regular bed and meal times and limited time on electronic devices may be linked to better emotional health in preschoolers and this may lower chances of obesity.
Researchers evaluated three household routines when children were 3 years old: regular bedtime, regular mealtime and whether or not parents limited television and video watching to an hour or less daily. Then they compared those to parents’ reports of two aspects of children’s self-regulation at that same age. Lastly, they investigated how the routines and self-regulation worked together to impact obesity at age 11, defined based on international criteria.
All three household routines were associated with better emotional self-regulation – a measure based on parents’ responses to questions such as how easily the child becomes frustrated or over-excited. Those children with greater emotional dysregulation were more likely to be obese later.
Although adults can beat children at most cognitive tasks, new research shows that children’s limitations can sometimes be their strength.
In two studies, researchers found that adults were very good at remembering information they were told to focus on, and ignoring the rest. In contrast, 4- to 5-year-olds tended to pay attention to all the information that was presented to them – even when they were told to focus on one particular item. That helped children to notice things that adults didn’t catch because of the grownups’ selective attention.
The results have important implications for understanding how education environments affect children’s learning.
The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute for Educational Science.