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  of Public Health
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Research & Policy

Risk and reality: Teaching preschool children affected by substance abuse [video and teachers' guides]
Joanne P. Brady, Sharon Grollman, Marc Posner, Cynthia Lang and Michael J. Rosati

Children affected by substance abuse have a wide range of problems and abilities, similar to other children with many risk factors. Based on a literature review and interviews with representatives of twelve exemplary programs involving drug-exposed young children, this kit demonstrates how to teach and nurture these children and to involve their families in the preschool setting. The video and two booklets explore the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol or other drugs on young children - such as preterm delivery, low birthweight and Apgar scores, short-term neurological effects, and possible longer-term effects on physical, psychological, and cognitive development. These children are usually in sociodemographic groups also subject to other environmental risk factors, such as poverty, violence, inadequate parenting knowledge, foster care, child abuse, and neglect. They often arrive in preschool with behavior problems, language delays, attachment difficulties, learning disorders, and limited social skills.

The authors describe techniques preschool teachers can use to help these children succeed in school: maintaining a nurturing, caring classroom, encouraging cooperative play, limiting distractions and helping with transitions, giving children behavior management skills, ongoing assessments, and building strong links with families. They describe the operations of six exemplary early intervention programs and comprehensive child development programs like Head Start that are especially prepared to work with at-risk children and that are being copied across the country. These include: (1) the PED Program for preschool children prenatally exposed to drugs based in Los Angeles public schools; (2) the Parent-Child Intervention Program in East Palo Alto, California, which includes parent and caregiver education and supports for drug-exposed infants, toddlers, and preschoolers; (3) Operation PAR (Parental Awareness and Responsibility), a drug treatment community in Florida for mothers and their young children incorporating child care and other services; (4) Carousel Preschool Program, run by the University of South Florida Mental Health Institute; (5) Hillsborough County Training Program in Tampa, Florida, which gives inservice training to district preschool and primary school teachers who work with at-risk children in mainstream settings; and (6) the District of Columbia's Project D.A.I.S.Y. (Developing Appropriate Intervention Strategies for the Young Child), which integrates drug-exposed and other children in a multi-aged preschool public school program. Each of these programs encourages collaboration between program staff, community, teachers, administrators, parents, and social service agencies to maximize the potential of drug-exposed and at-risk children.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Education
Distributed by National Archives Fulfillment Center
Multimedia Publications and Distribution Center
8700 Edgeworth Drive
Capitol Heights, MD 20743-3701
(800) 788-6282
Fax (703) 321-8547
(1994, Order No. AVA19519VNB1, Booklet Risk and reality: Teaching preschool children affected by substance abuse: 76 pp., Booklet Risk and reality: Implications of prenatal exposure to alcohol and other drugs: 67 pp., Video: 30 minutes; sold as kit only: $45 + $4 p/h)


copyright 2008 Free To Grow
Free To Grow is a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.