Washington: Want to predict your baby's future academic ability? Give him a raisin.
A team of researchers has developed a simple raisin test to forecast a child's attention and learning capacity.
The simple test can predict how well a toddler will perform academically at age eight, according to the University of Warwick research.
Using just the piece of dried fruit and a plastic cup they have devised a test based on how long a 20-month old child can wait to pick up a raisin in front of them. The toddlers were given a raisin that was placed under an opaque cup within easy reach. After three training runs toddlers were asked to wait until they were told (60 seconds) they could touch and eat the raisin. During the study it was found that those who were born very prematurely were more likely to take the raisin before the allotted time.
In a follow on study, the academics found that those who couldn't inhibit their behavior as toddlers weren't performing as well in school as their full-term peers seven years later.
Senior author Dieter Wolke said that an easy, five-minute raisin game task represents a promising new tool for follow-up assessments to predict attention regulation and learning in preterm and term born children. The results also point to potential innovative avenues to early intervention after preterm birth.
The study appears in Journal of Pediatrics.