Neonatal withdrawal syndrome [associated with prenatal opiate exposure]
Behavioral alterations [such as orientation to inanimate stimuli and cuddliness; appears to be associated with the type of prenatal drug use, with greatest association being with maternal use of depressants such as methadone or alcohol or polydrug abuse]
Crying [associated with prenatal exposure to cocaine; can be high-pitched and piercing or, on the other hand, infant can appear to be "underaroused"]
|Infancy [one month to 2 and 1/2 years]
Research generally shows that the actions of various drugs on the infant's behavior tend to vary over time but that most infants fall within the "normal" range.
Research also suggests that some of the infant behavioral characteristics [irritability, state control, responsiveness to social stimulation, sleep patterns, and crying] effect mother/infant attachment and their patterns of interaction may be the most significant result of prenatal exposure. Because the evidence suggests that children of parents who misuse drugs/alcohol are more likely to experience abuse and neglect and behavioral disturbances, there has been significant concern when children remain with their birth parents.
Cognitive and motor development have been the primary foci of research but the results have not been completely consistent - some studies have found no effects of exposure on any aspects of behavior and others have found some effects. Some of the common findings:
infants in all groups [drug exposed and various contrast groups] are all in the "average range"
there do appear to be more differences in "motor" rather than "mental" scores particularly for those children exposed to cocaine and narcotics
effects tend to become most apparent in the second half of the first year and become strongly apparent in the second year
|Preschool Period [2 1/2 to 6 years]
||Limited research with inconsistent results
Behavioral effects may be more apparent than cognitive deficits during this period since many skills important in the measurement of intelligence are not fully developed
|School Age [6-13 years]
||Limited research with variable results; more is understood about the cognitive affects of FAS.