This thesis examines the development of pedestrian skill level and the extent to which cognitive functioning underpins this amongst children with and without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Three studies are reported, the first of which is an examination of the development of three pedestrian skills (safe place finding, visual gap timing and predicting road user intentions) and four aspects of cognitive function amongst typically developing children aged 5 to 12 years. Results from the first study revealed clear age related improvement in both pedestrian skill level and cognitive function. Inhibitory control, spatial working memory as well as non-executive delayed short term memory (but not risk taking) predicted children’s pedestrian skill level. The second study examined developmental differences in pedestrian skill level and cognitive function by comparing the abilities of medication naive children with ADHD and matched controls aged 5-12 years on the same three tasks assessing pedestrian skill level and three aspects of cognitive function. Findings from the second study revealed significant between group differences in both cognitive function and pedestrian skill level such that children with ADHD performed markedly less well than controls. Whilst inhibitory control, spatial working memory and delayed short term memory predicted pedestrian skill level for control children, these relationships were for the most part, absent amongst children with ADHD. The final study was a longitudinal follow up study of a subset of the children with and without ADHD who took part in study 2. In study 3 the same tasks were administered to children at a mean time of 14 months following their participation in study 2, by which point all of the children with ADHD were being treated with stimulant medication.The findings of study 3 revealed medication had normalised the performance of children with ADHD on tasks assessing inhibitory control and non-executive delayed short term memory but had no impact on spatial working memory. Medication had also normalised performance on two of the three tasks assessing pedestrian skill level and improved most measures of performance on a third. These results have implications for clinicians and educators working with children with ADHD and highlight scope for future research to develop and trial interventions which take account of the relationship between cognitive function and pedestrian skill level amongst both typically developing children and the more vulnerable group of children with ADHD.
|Date of Award||1 Oct 2015|
- University Of Strathclyde
|Supervisor||James Thomson (Supervisor)|