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Learning disabilities and intellectual functioning in school-aged children with prenatal cocaine exposure

Learning disabilities and intellectual functioning in school-aged children with prenatal cocaine exposure

Developmental Neuropsychology 30(3): 905-931

Risk for developing a learning disability (LD) or impaired intellectual functioning by age 7 was assessed in full-term children with prenatal cocaine exposure drawn from a cohort of 476 children born full term and enrolled prospectively at birth. Intellectual functioning was assessed using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Third Edition (Wechsler, 1991) short form, and academic functioning was assessed using the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT; Wechsler, 1993) Screener by examiners blind to exposure status. LDs were categorized based on ability-achievement discrepancy scores, using the regression-based predicted achievement method described in the WIAT manual. The sample in this report included 409 children (212 cocaine-exposed, 197 non-cocaine-exposed) from the birth cohort with available data. Cumulative incidence proportions and relative risk values were estimated using STATA software (Statacorp, 2003). No differences were found in the estimate of relative risk for impaired intellectual functioning (IQ below 70) between children with and without prenatal cocaine exposure (estimated relative risk = .95; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.65, 1.39; p = .79). The cocaine-exposed children had 2.8 times greater risk of developing a LD by age 7 than non-cocaine-exposed children (95% CI = 1.05, 7.67; p = .038; IQ >/= 70 cutoff). Results remained stable with adjustment for multiple child and caregiver covariates, suggesting that children with prenatal cocaine exposure are at increased risk for developing a learning disability by age 7 when compared to their non-cocaine-exposed peers.

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Accession: 012869931

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PMID: 17083299

DOI: 10.1207/s15326942dn3003_8

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