Attention is an important neuropsychological function in child development. A lot of literature has been devoted to trying to separate the role of nature (i.e. mainly the genetic basis) from that of nurture (i.e. parenting and life events). The case of preterm born children is an opportunity to try and further study this relationship. We hypothesize that children born preterm might have a reduced attention due to an interaction of factors, to be conceptualized both as nature (mainly the genetic background and the specific consequences of preterm birth and of its complications) and nurture (therapeutic techniques used, alteration in parents-child relationship and so on). The contribution of each of these factors needs to be disembodied from the raw finding of a reduced attention: this is especially important because experience-dependent learning, in which individualized experiences have neural effects, can go on throughout life and this opens interesting rehabilitative possibilities. Different research lines which could be useful to entangle the specific contributions of the above mentioned factors are discussed: the results could in turn inform clinical practice with this highly at risk and increasing in number population, with a view largely corresponding to the one founding the OMS International Classification of Disability, Functioning and Health.
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