Other Free Encyclopedias » Social Issues Reference » Child Development Reference - Vol 1

Attention Span

children disorder deficit tasks

Attention span is the degree to which a child demonstrates sustained focus on designated tasks and activities, especially in school. During the preschool and early elementary school ages, attention span varies with age, gender, and type of activity. A longer attention span is generally found in older children than in younger children, and in girls more often than in boys. Children are usually able to maintain a longer attention span when performing tasks that match their abilities and interests.

An adequate attention span is an important part of learning in a classroom setting, enabling children to organize and consolidate important features of the subjects being studied. Most children develop the expected level of concentration in the course of ordinary school experience. But for those with short attention spans, learning problems sometimes develop, including over-attention to irrelevant details of tasks and general restlessness and overactive movements that distract them from their focus. Attention span problems are frequently reported in children with learning disabilities, such as those diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).


Guevremont, David, and Russell Barkley. "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children." In Stephen Hooper, George Hynd, and Robert Mattison eds., Child Psychopathology: Diagnostic Criteria and Clinical Assessment. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1992.

Hunt, Earl. "Verbal Ability." In Robert Sternberg ed., Human Abilities. New York: Freeman, 1985.

Thompson, Ross. "The Individual Child: Temperament, Emotion, Self, and Personality." In Marc Bornstein and Michael Lamb eds., Developmental Psychology: An Advanced Textbook, Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1999.

Nathan W. Gottfried

Autism - Diagnosis, Prevalence Of Autism, Causes Of The Disorder, Autism's Clinical Course, Treatment For Autism [next] [back] Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - Identifying Adhd, Possible Causes Of Adhd, How Is Adhd Diagnosed?, Recommended Treatment For Adhd

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or

Vote down Vote up

almost 8 years ago

How do childrens attention span vary with classroom sizes?

Vote down Vote up

almost 5 years ago

I feign you prefabricated predestined unspoiled points in options also.

Vote down Vote up

over 8 years ago

so what is the attention span of the average human being?

Vote down Vote up

almost 10 years ago

I am doing a science fair project on attention span and this has really helped a lot. Thanks a million.

Vote down Vote up

about 10 years ago

This has really helped me and i think I have add because i don't pay attention in a classroom effectively. This has really helped me to become more focused on homework than anything else. Thanks a bunch!!!!!!!!

Vote down Vote up

over 10 years ago

i used some of this information for a literature review that had to do with concentration. thanks a lot! it helped!