Attention, Children and Head Injury

  • David A. Johnson


We are supposed to know what attention is, by the perpetual quoting of William James, but it is clear from the literature and clinical experience that we know very little of the nature and significance of attentional disorder following head injury in children. Attention is fundamental to the smooth, efficient, integrated and almost effortless functioning of the healthy nervous system, and is highly dependent on the integrity of the brain (Posner & Presti, 1987). The variety of attentional problems with which one is presented clinically suggests that the reified construct of attention cannot be a single entity. If we examine behaviour carefully we may infer that attention has distinct components, which presumably reflect different aspects of brain state (Nissen, 1986). Attempting an adequate definition of attention is, therefore, difficult. It seems to represent an ability of the alert individual to process information, direct and sustain selective mental effort for specific periods of time to specific tasks. These key elements are often referred to interchangably, so a brief description may be helpful:


Head Injury Head Trauma Attentional Resource Injured Child Dyslexic Child 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

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  • David A. Johnson

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