For most people in New York City, the idea of prenatal exposure to alcohol or other drugs drums up memories of the “crack baby” media frenzy that persisted into the 1990s. But with years of research now behind us, we know that the outcomes for children exposed to crack cocaine, heroin, and other illicit drugs are much less frightening than originally expected.
In fact, the research has shown repeatedly that the home environment after birth is responsible for more of the problems. In fact, a strong post-natal home environment can substantially reduce the impact of prenatal exposure on children.
That said, there are impacts from prenatal exposure. The most damaging drug is a legal one – alcohol. Children who are exposed to alcohol in utero are at high risk for Sensory integration dysfunction
Prenatal exposure is an issue for professionals in child welfare, drug treatment, and family court alike. Children may need special services and interventions. Parents need to be prepared to take on responsibilities when they care for a special needs child. Court professionals need to be well-versed in the issus of prenatal exposure so that they can request appropriate services. Click here to see if your knowledge about prenatal exposure is based on myth or fact.
Read below to learn more about prenatal exposure issues as they affect children of different ages: