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NAS Linked with Childhood Educational Disabilities

Pediatrics; ePub 2018 Aug 30; Fill, Miller, et al

A recent analysis revealed that children with a history of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a postnatal drug withdrawal syndrome that can occur after intrauterine opioid exposure, were significantly more likely to have a subsequent educational disability. By using Tennessee Medicaid and birth certificate data, infants who were born between 2008 and 2011 with a history of NAS were matched (1:3) to infants who were born during the same period without a history of NAS. Groups were matched on the basis of sex, race and/or ethnicity, age, birth region of residence, and Medicaid enrollment status. Data were linked to Tennessee Department of Education special education data during early childhood (3–8 years of age). Researchers found:

  • A total of 1,815 children with a history of NAS and 5,441 children without NAS were assessed.
  • Children with NAS were significantly more likely to be referred for a disability evaluation (351/1,815 [19.3%] vs 745/5,441 [13.7%]), to meet criteria for a disability (284/1,815 [15.6%] vs 634/5,441 [11.7%]), and to require classroom therapies or services (278/1,815 [15.3%] vs 620/5,441 [11.4%]).


Fill M-MA, Miller AM, Wilkinson RH, et al. Educational disabilities among children born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. [Published online ahead of print August 30, 2018]. Pediatrics. doi:10.1542/peds.2018-0562

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