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Newborn’s Gaze May Predict Impulsivity, Inattention in Children

One common myth about ADHD is that it stems from bad parenting. Now, new research shows that attention differences may exist from infancy, providing even more proof that nature (not nurture) is at work here.

July 1st, 2015

Many symptoms of ADHD — hyperactivity, impulsive interrupting, trouble following directions — may look like nothing more than naughty behavior to the uneducated observer. After all, most kids can control themselves. It must be lax parenting, right? Wrong. New research suggests that ADHD is a biological condition present at birth, and not a byproduct of overly lenient parenting.

The study, published June 26 in the journal of Scientific Reports, measured the length of time that 80 infants could focus their gaze on a specific object. Years later, the parents of these children completed surveys about their behavior between the ages of three and ten. The results showed the highest incidence of hyperactivity and impulsivity among the grown-up newborns who looked at the images for the shortest amount of time.

The scientists behind the study conclude that attention and focus are due to, at least in part, to genetics or conditions in utero. Additionally, they want to remind worried parents that a shorter attention span is not worse or better than a longer attention span. It just means that different people will excel at different things. Learn more about the wonderful gifts that often come alongside an ADHD diagnosis here.

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