When the cocaine epidemic began, predictions were made that the children of cocaine users would demonstrate devastating negative developmental sequelae. In infants and young children prenatally exposed to cocaine most frequently the neurobehavioral and neuromotor systems have been studied. Although clinically described as irritable, difficult to console, and jittery as infants, research findings have not been able to clearly describe a pattern of long-term developmental sequelae. The mechanisms of action of drug exposure on developmental outcome have shown to be more complex than originally suspected. Many factors, other than the drug use, can influence developmental outcome. In most studies of prenatal cocaine exposure, family and environmental factors rarely have been measured, although their influence on developmental outcome has been well documented in other populations. This review of literature summarizes the research on the early effects of prenatal exposure to cocaine and other drugs on neurobehavioral functioning and neuromotor development in an attempt to provide objective and scientifically based information to clinicians working with this population.
Blanchard, Y. (1999). Neurobehavioral and neuromotor long-term sequelae of prenatal exposure to cocaine and other drugs: An unresolved issue. Pediatric Physical Therapy 11(3), 140-146.
Pediatric Physical Therapy