Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

Fall 1999


Physical Therapy


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.


At the time of publication Yvette Blanchard was affiliated with University of Hartford.


Pediatric Physical Therapy









To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.