Development of a neurobehavioral battery for children exposed to neurotoxic chemicals

Diane S. Rohlman, W. Kent Anger, Alys Tamulinas, Jacki Phillips, Steffani R. Bailey, Linda McCauley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In recent years there has been heightened concern over the potential impact of environmental exposures on neurological function in children. Children are thought to be especially vulnerable to neurotoxic effects due to a number of factors including play behavior, differences in metabolism, and the development state of the brain. Performance tests from the computerized Behavioral Assessment and Research System (BARS) and other non-computerized tests have been combined to develop a brief battery that assesses multiple neurobehavioral functions in preschool children aged 4-6. Tests were selected to assess a variety of cognitive functions including attention, memory, motor speed and coordination and other executive functions. The battery has also been translated into Spanish and developed for use with Latino populations. Four to six-year-old children are particularly challenging because of the shorter attention span and lower motivation to complete an extended test session. When testing this group it is important to maintain the motivation of the child throughout the entire session in order to obtain accurate performance measures. A series of sequential pilot studies were used to select and develop appropriate methods and parameters for the tests in the battery. Although English-speaking children were able to complete the initial battery with minimal difficulties, several difficulties were encountered when the tests were administered to a Latino population. Cultural differences made some material inappropriate for testing due to unfamiliarity with the material, and in some cases items in a test had more than one correct translation which made administration difficult.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-665
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


  • Children
  • Computerized assessment
  • Latino
  • Neurobehavioral tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Toxicology


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