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- PublicationReconstructing readiness: Young children’s priorities for their early school adjustmentYoung children in communities facing socioeconomic disadvantage are increasingly targeted by school readiness interventions. Interventions are stronger if they address stakeholders’ priorities, yet children’s priorities for early school adjustment are rarely accounted for in intervention design including selection of outcome measures. The Children’s Thoughts about School Study (CTSS) examined young children’s accounts of their early school experiences, and their descriptions of what a new school starter would need to know. Mixed-method interviews were conducted with 42 kindergarten children in a socioeconomically deprived suburb of Dublin, Ireland. First, inductive thematic analysis identified 25 priorities across four domains: feeling able and enthusiastic for school; navigating friendships and victimisation; supportive environments with opportunities to play; bridging school and family life. Second, deductive analysis compared children’s priorities at item level against a school readiness outcome battery. Children’s priorities were assigned to three groups: (1) assessed by outcome measures (core academic competencies, aspects of self-regulation); (2) partially assessed (self-efficacy, social skills for friendship formation and avoiding victimisation, creative thinking, play); and (3) not assessed by outcome measures (school liking, school environment, family-school involvement). This analysis derived from children’s own perspectives suggests that readiness interventions aiming to support early school adjustment would benefit from considering factors children consider salient. It offers recommendations for advancing conceptual frameworks, improving assessment, and identifying new targets for supporting children and schools. In doing so we provide a platform for children’s priorities to be integrated into the policies and practices that shape their early lives.
256Scopus© Citations 18
- PublicationAttitudes and reported practice of paediatricians and child psychiatrists regarding the assessment and treatment of ADHD in IrelandObjectives: This mixed-method national survey has obtained original data on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) attitudes, assessment and treatment regimes reported by paediatricians and child psychiatrists; and has compared their clinics. It has examined the extent of involvement of Irish paediatricians in the management of ADHD. Methods: A questionnaire was designed, based on a review of literature and ADHD guidelines, and piloted by expert clinicians. Universal recruitment was conducted among Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) consultants (n = 71) and community/general paediatric consultants (n = 72). Quantitative and qualitative data was collected and analysed. Results: There was an overall response rate of 43%. A dedicated ADHD clinic is offered in 79% of CAMHS services, but only in one paediatric service. Participants reported that the assessment of ADHD involves multidisciplinary work and this was only established in CAMHS clinics. Medication is initiated by 82% of child psychiatrists and only 22% of paediatricians. Conclusions: This first national study of ADHD attitudes and practices presents comprehensive data regarding the management of children with ADHD in CAMHS and paediatric settings in Ireland. Paediatricians reported a minor role in managing ADHD. Study limitations are related to subjective reporting rather than case note audit, and a moderate response rate for the paediatricians’ participants.
714Scopus© Citations 3
- PublicationYoung children's food brand knowledge. Early development and associations with television viewing and parent's dietBrand knowledge is a prerequisite of children's requests and choices for branded foods. We explored the development of young children's brand knowledge of foods highly advertised on television – both healthy and less healthy. Participants were 172 children aged 3–5 years in diverse socio-economic settings, from two jurisdictions on the island of Ireland with different regulatory environments. Results indicated that food brand knowledge (i) did not differ across jurisdictions; (ii) increased significantly between 3 and 4 years; and (iii) children had significantly greater knowledge of unhealthy food brands, compared with similarly advertised healthy brands. In addition, (iv) children's healthy food brand knowledge was not related to their television viewing, their mother's education, or parent or child eating. However, (v) unhealthy brand knowledge was significantly related to all these factors, although only parent eating and children's age were independent predictors. Findings indicate that effects of food marketing for unhealthy foods take place through routes other than television advertising alone, and are present before pre-schoolers develop the concept of healthy eating. Implications are that marketing restrictions of unhealthy foods should extend beyond television advertising; and that family-focused obesity prevention programmes should begin before children are 3 years of age.
842Scopus© Citations 19
- Publication'Big, strong and healthy': Young children's identification of food and drink that contribute to healthy growthGrowing awareness of the importance of healthy diet in early childhood makes it important to chart the development of children's understanding of food and drink. This study aimed to document young children's evaluation of food and drink as healthy, and to explore relationships with socioeconomic status, family eating habits, and children's television viewing. Data were gathered from children aged 3 to 5 years (n = 172) in diverse socioeconomic settings in Ireland, and from their parents. Results demonstrated that children had very high levels of ability to identify healthy foods as important for growth and health, but considerably less ability to reject unhealthy items, although knowledge of these increased significantly between ages 3 and 5. Awareness of which foods were healthy, and which foods were not, was not related to family socioeconomic status, parent or child home eating habits, or children's television viewing. Results highlighted the importance of examining young children's response patterns, as many of the youngest showed a consistent 'yes bias'; however, after excluding these responses, the significant findings remained. Findings suggest it is important to teach children about less healthy foods in the preschool years.
755Scopus© Citations 36