An evaluation of the classification of hyperkinetic children with the Vigilance task and the Matching familiar figures test
Simoneaux, John C.
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The accurate diagnosis and placement of hyperactive children has been recognized as critical in the planning and implementation of psycho-educational Interventions aimed at ameliorating the difficulties these children inevitably encounter. The importance of correctly identifying hyperactive children is underscored when the typical interventions for treating the disorder are considered. The side-effects of medication are sometimes worse than the disorder. Two objective instruments (the Vigilance Task and the Matching Familiar Figures Test) surfaced as potentially useful in diagnosing this disorder. One-hundred children (27 hyperactives, 27 learning disabled, 46 "normals") were administered the Vigilance Task and the MFFT, Both stepwise and direct discriminant analyses failed to demonstrate that these tests had adequate discriminating abilities. Only 56% of the, children in the study were correctly classified when the yielded discriminant function was applied. The most promising single measure was the correct detections score on the Vigilance Task which presumably taps the attentional deficit component of hyperactivity. The tests were found not to discriminate significantly better when the subjects were made more homogenous (e.g., sex, age), The trend was for the scores of the larger group of hyperactives and learning disabled children to be similar to each other and different from the "normal" group. Scores on the two tests did correlate to some degree with each other in the expected directions, indicating that they probably measure similar, or coexisting phenomena. Adequate split-half reliability data were obtained for both instruments. Teachers and mothers strongly agreed that the children in the hyperactive group displayed hyperactive behavior patterns. A slight relationship was found between Slosson IQ scores and correct detections on the Vigilance Task,