Adaptive behavior and later school achievement in children with early-onset epilepsy

Berg, A. T.; Caplan, R.; Baca, C. B.; Vickrey, B. G.

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2013 Mar 29; 55(7):661-7


AIM: To determine whether early measures of adaptive behavior are predictive of later school difficulties and achievement in otherwise neurotypical (unimpaired) children with onset of epilepsy during the preschool years. METHOD: In a prospective cohort study, parents completed the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VABS) for children who were aged 5 years or less at epilepsy diagnosis. Eight to 9 years later, the children were assessed using the Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children (WISC), the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT), and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Associations of VABS scores with later WRAT and CBCL scores were tested. RESULTS: A total of 108 neurotypical children (64 males, 44 females; mean age at testing 11y 11mo, SD 2y) were studied. After adjustment for IQ and other factors, there was an increase of 0.15 points (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.03-0.27 points; p=0.03) and 0.14 points (95% CI 0.0-0.28 points; p=0.05) in WRAT reading and spelling scores for each 1-point increment in the VABS communication score. Corresponding numbers for the VABS socialization score were 0.20 (95% CI 0.08-0.32; p=0.005) and 0.17 (95% CI 0.05-0.29; p=0.005). CONCLUSION: In neurotypical preschool children with epilepsy, early social and communication scores predict later school performance. These findings raise questions about opportunities for early identification and intervention for children at greatest risk.

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