COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT AT PRESCHOOL-AGE OF INFANTS OF DRUG-DEPENDENT MOTHERS

Authors

  • Anneloes van Baar,

    Corresponding author
    1. Ph.D., Developmental Psychologist; Academical Medical Center, Department of Neonatology, Amsterdam, and St. Joseph Hospital. Veldhoven.
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  • Bea M. T. de Graaff

    1. Developmental Psychologist; Academical Medical Center, Department of Neonatology, Amsterdam, and St. Joseph Hospital. Veldhoven.
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*Academical Medical Center, Department of Neonatology, H4-241, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

SUMMARY

A prospective longitudinal study on the development of children of drug-dependent mothers who used combinations of cocaine, heroin and methadone during pregnancy was carried out in Amsterdam. The children and a contrast reference group were followed from birth to the age of 5½ years. Cognitive functioning was assessed at 3½, four, 4½ and 5½ years. The children of drug-dependent mothers repeatedly showed delays in cognitive functioning at preschool-age. Individual difficulties, as well as differences in developmental patterns over time, were found most clearly when facets of language development formed part of the assessments. Intervention programmes should focus on improvements of early language development and communication, in addition to the children's ability to adapt lo task situations.

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