Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2004; 26(5): 617–627
Four-year language outcomes of children exposed to cocaine in utero
Barbara A. Lewis,a* Lynn T. Singer,a Elizabeth J. Short,b Sonia Minnes,a Robert Arendt,c Paul Weishampel,a Nancy Klein,d and Meeyoung O. Mina
aDepartment of Pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USAbDepartment of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USAcThe Buckeye Ranch, Columbus, OH, USAdDepartment of Education, Cleveland State University, 1983 East 24th Street, Cleveland, OH 44115, USA*Corresponding author. Behavioral Pediatrics and Psychology 6038, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, Case Western Reserve University, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106-6038, USA. Tel.: +1-216-844-6204; fax: +1-216-844-6276.E-mail address:Email: email@example.com (B.A. Lewis) The publisher’s final edited version of this article is available at Neurotoxicol Teratol. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article.
A large cohort of children exposed to cocaine in utero (n = 189) were followed prospectively from birth to 4 years of age and compared to nonexposed children (n = 185) on the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals—Preschool (CELF-P), a measure of receptive and expressive language abilities. Children exposed to cocaine in utero performed more poorly on the expressive and total language measures than nonexposed children after controlling for confounding variables, including prenatal exposure to alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco, as well as medical and sociodemographic variables. Children exposed to cocaine had more mild receptive language delays than nonexposed children and were less likely to have higher expressive abilities. Also, maternal factors such as language ability, performance IQ, race, and education correlated with child language abilities. Prenatal cigarette and marijuana exposure were related to deficits in specific language skills. Children placed in adoptive or foster care who were cocaine exposed demonstrated superior language skills compared to children exposed to cocaine who remained in biological relative or mother’s care. These findings support a cocaine-specific effect on language skills in early childhood that may be modified with an enriched environment.
Keywords: Cocaine exposed, Language, Adoptive/foster care
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