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Child Studies May Ease Fears on Misbehavior

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November 12, 2007

By BENEDICT CAREY Educators and psychologists have long feared that children entering school with behavior problems were doomed to fall behind in the upper grades. But two new studies suggest that those fears are exaggerated. One concluded that kindergartners who are identified as troubled do as well academically as their peers in elementary school. The other found that children with attention deficit disorders suffer primarily from a delay in brain development, not from a deficit or flaw. Experts say the findings of the two studies, being published Tuesday in separate journals, could change the way scientists, teachers and parents understand and manage children who are disruptive or emotionally withdrawn in the early years of school. The studies might even prompt a reassessment of the possible causes of disruptive behavior in some children. “I think these may become landmark findings, forcing us to ask whether these acting-out kinds of problems are secondary to the in…