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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Behavior of a Toddler of an Addict?

06/04/2009

Question:

What can I expect from a toddler whose mother was addicted to drugs and alcohol during pregnancy? What problems may occur in development and behavior? We are experiencing at 16 months, all he wants to do is squeal and scream. He was always such a happy & content infant. Is there a book you could recommend on what I should look for in the future development of this child?

Answer:

This is a very important question and one where there is little that can be specifically recommended other than getting a very thorough pediatric / developmental psychology evaluation and monitoring with regular follow-up. There are many resources available to read about the vast spectrum of possible symptoms ... reading about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effect would be a good start. Also several reports have been written by Lynn Singer, PhD, about cocaine effected pregnancy and childhood outcomes. Unfortunately, all of these resources really will just help describe a spectrum of possibilities. 

 
Getting a thorough evaluation by an assessment team is most important. This is because there are often many home / school / physical therapy / occupational therapy / teaching / early childhood development and psychology interventions that can help modify the current situation and really improve future outcomes for this toddler. 

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Response by:

Ted   Parran, MD Ted Parran, MD
Associate Professor of General Medical Sciences
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University