Executive Function in Preschool Children at Risk for Inattention and Hyperactivity

Who is Eligible: Children ages 4 and 5. We are looking for children born prematurely (< 33 weeks gestational age) and children who have been diagnosed or are at risk (have symptoms or positive family history) for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Additionally, we are looking to recruit children ages 4 and 5 who were born at term (> 37 weeks gestational age).

Principal Investigator: Irene Loe, MD

Research Coordinator: Jenna Adams / Email: dbpresearch@stanford.edu / Phone: (650) 498-7690


We are conducting a research study that uses psychological testing and computer-based testing to see how children control behavior, pay attention, and solve problems. Our study involves children who were born prematurely, children with ADHD or at-risk of ADHD, and a comparison group of children born at term.

We are interested in understanding how attention and executive function skills develop in children with a history of prematurity and in children at risk for ADHD. Executive function skills refer to multiple abilities, such as the ability to control behavior, problem-solving, and related skills. Attention and executive function skills have been linked with behavior and academic skills in children, and may be affected in some children with a history of prematurity or ADHD risk.

We hope our research will contribute knowledge to create effective interventions to help at risk populations who may exhibit executive functioning problems. This may, in turn, lead to improved functional outcomes.


  1. We will talk to you by telephone to determine if your child is eligible for the study.
  2. We will send you a packet of information to complete, including questionnaires about your child’s behavior and functional skills.
  3. The study includes two testing sessions based at Stanford, each lasting about 1.5 hours.
  4. Computer and play-based games will be used to see how your child controls his/her behavior, attention, and problem solving skills.
  5. At the conclusion of this process, we will meet with you briefly to review your child’s health and behavior


Who is running the studies?  More 

Developmental-behavioral pediatrician Dr. Irene Loe is the principal investigator. Trained research assistants are also involved in conducting the study.


What are the costs or possible risks involved in participation?  More 

There are no costs to your child. Our methods are completely safe for your child, and you and your child’s information is kept confidential.


What are the benefits of participating?  More 

  1. We will compensate you and your child with $60 after completion of both visits and the questionnaires.
  2. We may identify behavior or learning problems that you and your child are unaware of. If we identify an issue, we will recommend services or approaches to help your child.
  3. You will be contributing to understanding about children with attention and problems solving difficulties.


Will I be with my child during the study?  More 

Parents often wait in the waiting room, but if your child has trouble separating or doesn’t feel comfortable without you present, you may sit quietly in the back of the testing room.


I have friends who also have children who may be eligible. Could they also be participants in this study?  More 

Yes! Please feel free to share this brochure and our contact information with anyone who may also be interested in participating.