Program Overview | Neuropsychological Effects of Lead Poisoning on Child Development
Lead is a neurotoxic substance that has been shown in numerous research studies to affect brain function and development. Children who have been exposed to elevated levels of lead (>10 ug/dl) are at increased risk for cognitive and behavioral problems during development (CDC, 1991).
Exposure to lead can result in a variety of effects upon neuropsychological functioning including deficits in general intellectual functioning, ability to sustain attention on tasks, organization of thinking and behavior, speech articulation, language comprehension and production, learning and memory efficiency, fine motor skills, high activity level, reduced problem solving flexibility, and poor behavioral self-control.
Given the risk of dysfunction, the neuropsychological evaluation assesses the child's cognitive and behavioral functioning with respect to the neurotoxic effects of lead. The kinds of neuropsychological problems resulting from lead poisoning can vary with the nature of the exposure history (intensity, chronicity, age at exposure, etc.) combined with the other contributing risk factors (nutrition, environmental stimulation).
The outcome of these neuropsychological deficits for the child is often quite debilitating and include poor academic learning and performance as well as problems with the development of appropriate social relationships. It is important to understand the child's neuropsychological strengths and deficits in order to reduce the risks of lead poisoning by planning for appropriate developmental, family, educational, and behavioral treatment interventions.
Poor Academic Learning and Performance:
Poor Social Relationships:
Referrals can be directed to the Outpatient Department at 410-367-2222.