Volume 22, Issue 4 (1993)
Children With Prenatal Cocaine Exposure: Resilient or Handicapped?
LeAdelle Phelps, Deborah Cox
Prenatal exposure to cocaine may result in a broad range of deficits with chronicity, severity, and timing of the exposure associated with a corresponding continuum of negative outcomes ranging from intrauterine growth retardation to more subtle neurobehavioral abnormalities. Preliminary longitudinal studies with toddlers and preschoolers suffering from such exposure suggest the majority of these children have low average to normal cognitive abilities, but tend to be highly distractible and have notable difficulties with speech and language development, peer interactions, and fine motor control. This article reviews the pharmacological properties of cocaine critical to neurological and behavioral outcomes. Specific multilevel and multidisciplinary interventions with the family unit are delineated. It is advocated that services for each youngster be based on individual strengths and weaknesses determined within a contextual framework and established by ecological observations as well as normed measures.
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