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Learning difficulties among children separated from a parent


, : Learning difficulties among children separated from a parent. Ambulatory Pediatrics 8(3): 163-168

To study the relationship between experiencing separation from parents and having learning difficulties among children in a community-based sample. In 2003, parents of children entering kindergarten in the city of Rochester completed a survey assessing the child's social background, medical history, and behavioral profile. Children separated from parents for >1 month were compared with those who had never been away for >1 month on 4 validated developmental measures (range, 1-4): a learning scale, an expressive language scale, a preliteracy scale, and a speech scale. Bivariate analyses and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to determine associations between separation from parents and learning difficulties. Among the 1619 children, 18% had been separated from a parent for >1 month at least once (11% once, 7% > or =2 times). Separated children scored worse compared with those without separations on learning (3.14 vs 3.28, P = .001) and preliteracy (2.21 vs 2.35, P = .03). Higher rates of learning difficulties (26.7% vs 16.7%, P < .001) and preliteracy problems (25.9% vs 18.7%, P = .01) were noted among those who had been separated versus those who had not. In multivariable modeling, separation was associated with learning problems (adjusted odds ratio, 1.71; 95% confidence interval, 1.18-2.49) and preliteracy problems (adjusted odds ratio, 1.46; 95% confidence interval, 1.04-2.05) when adjusted for demographic, medical, and social factors. Urban children who have experienced separation from a parent may have more learning difficulties at entrance to kindergarten. Screening and intervention practices to remedy these challenges may better equip such young children to succeed when they enter school.

US$19.90

PMID: 18501862

DOI: 10.1016/j.ambp.2008.02.001


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