NACOGDOCHES, Texas — The school psychology program at Stephen F. Austin State University has received a nearly $15,000 grant from the Texas Woman’s University Woodcock Institute to research why children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder lose focus specifically during searching activities like a game requiring them to spot missing objects.

“Thank you for allowing us to support your important line of research,” said Dr. David C. Miller, executive director of the research institute, in SFA’s notification letter.

SFA researchers want to determine if eye-tracking technology can differentiate between the reasons why children with ADHD demonstrate attentional deficits during aspects of stimulus processing, such as search, according Dr. Luis Aguerrevere, associate professor and director of the Human Neuroscience Laboratory in the Department of Human Services and Educational Leadership at SFA.

“Specifically, we will test the idea that greater deficits in eye regulation during a game called Spot the Missing Object will correlate with greater ADHD symptomatology,” Aguerrevere said.

Aguerrevere and Dr. Jaime Flowers, an assistant professor of school psychology at SFA, will conduct the research, which has wider implications for determining objective and valid assessments for children with ADHD.

“This research will help streamline the assessment process for ADHD in both schools and clinical settings, saving valuable resources,” Flowers said.

Aguerrevere and Flowers will begin collecting data in January. They hope to recruit 100 children ranging in age from 8 to 11 years old who are in the process of obtaining a comprehensive assessment for ADHD.

“While these children play Spot the Missing Object, we will measure time, accuracy and eye-tracking variables,” Flowers said. “Hopefully, this data will validate the hypothesis that children with ADHD perform differently during the game, which has the potential to become a reliable and valid screener for ADHD.”

The Woodcock Institute awards grants to institutions conducting research that aligns with its mission: the advancement of neurocognitive research and translation of neurocognitive research into practice.

For more information, email Flowers at