Sara J. Vagi, University of Miami
Virginia E. Vitiello, University of Miami
Christine E.F. Delgado, University of Miami
Abstract: This study was conducted to determine whether risk factors available in birth certificate records were associated with mental and/or motor delay at 9 months. Data were derived from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) conducted by the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES). Children (N=10,688) completed the Bayley Scales of Infant Development - Short Form (BSF) at 9 months. Results were linked to birth certificate records, and data were weighted to reflect population values.
Increases in risk for mental and motor delay were determined using relative risk ratios. Mental and motor delays were defined as < 2.5 SD below the mean of the BSF. Results showed that increased risk for motor and mental delay was associated with male gender, minority status, low birthweight, prematurity, low maternal education, non-married marital status, maternal age greater than 35 years or less than 18 years, and onset of prenatal care after the first trimester. For motor delay, the highest level of risk was associated with infants born very low birthweight. For mental delay, the highest level of risk was associated with late onset of prenatal care and maternal education less than 12 years.
Very few studies have been conducted with population level data to determine if delays associated with risk factors are evident in infancy. These results demonstrate that risk factors available in birth certificate records are associated with developmental delays as early as 9 months. These developmental delays may persist into school age and impair school performance. Early identification of developmental delays is imperative for early intervention which has the potential to improve future school performance for children with early developmental delay.