Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2020

Document Type

Thesis (699 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Special Education


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Ximena Suarez-Sousa


prenatal drug exposure, early intervention, illicit drugs, drug effects


The purpose of this study was to see what the developmental trend was among children who were prenatally exposed to drugs and early intervention services. There is not much research-based data that has been collected on this topic, even though in 2004 federal legislation was passed to improve early intervention service access for drug-exposed infants. This study was motivated by scientific evidence that maternal substance abuse and prenatal drug exposure has detrimental effects on the fetus and prolonged effects on children. This study collected data on how many prenatally drug-exposed children were referred for early intervention services and how many of them qualified for services. This was completed by surveying early childhood special education teachers about referrals they had received in the past two years. This study was tough to complete because of COVID-19. However, the study showed there were less referrals on children who were exposed prenatally to illicit drugs in 2018-2019 school year then the 2017-2018 school year. It is important to note that more than half of the children who were exposed to illicit drugs prenatally qualified for early intervention services. This shows that children who were exposed to illicit drugs prenatally should be observed and referred for early intervention services if concerns arise.



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