This podcast on prenatal exposure is brought to you through the generous support of our friends at the Jockey Being Family Foundation, who share our vision to provide education and support to strengthen families.

Parenting Kids with Prenatal Exposure (Part 1): Practical Tips

Do you suspect (or know) that your child was exposed to alcohol or drugs during pregnancy? We discuss tips for how to best work with these children with Dr. Robin Gurwitch, a professor at Duke University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Center for Child and Family Health.

In this episode, we cover:

  • How does prenatal exposure to alcohol or drugs affect children at different ages?
  • Oftentimes adoptive, foster and kinship families may not know specifically if their child was exposed in pregnancy to alcohol or drugs? How can a parent determine if their child was prenatally exposed?
  • What are some of the more common signs, symptoms, and behaviors a parent might see at different ages?
    • Birth to age five
    • Elementary age
    • Tweens and adolescence
    • Young adults
  • Parents, teachers, and other adults working with these children often don’t think about prenatal exposure because of the lag in time between the exposure and when the more disruptive symptoms appear. At what age do you see parents and kids beginning to struggle more?
  • What are some of the common misdiagnoses that these children receive?
  • How do the attention and focus issues common with kids who have been exposed to alcohol and drugs differ from ADHD? Is ADHD medication effective to improve attention in prenatally exposed kids?
  • Is it common for children with prenatal exposure to be uneven in their abilities? For example, average to above average in verbal skills but substantially below average in other areas.
  • What do we mean by “executive function” or “higher level thinking skills” and how does prenatal exposure to alcohol and drugs impact this?
  • We hear from parents that one of the most frustrating symptoms is not being able to learn from their mistakes. Doing the same thing even though they have been told not to. Not learning from cause and effect. Is this common with kids who have been exposed to alcohol and drugs during gestation?
  • What are some practical tips for working with kids with prenatal exposure to help them thrive at home and at school?

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Image Credit: Mikhail Nilov