Dr. Google fails miserably with regards to trying to find out the current thinking on the effects of prenatal meth exposure. You get lots of studies about underweight rats and warnings about behavior and attention disorders and learning disabilities, but that's pretty much it.
Our developmental evaluation was yesterday. We were lucky enough to get in with one of the best in the state. I'm still fairly shellshocked from all that we were told, and I don't want to get into Huck's specifics, but I do want to tell y'all some of what we learned. (Edited to add: these things represent what we're dealing with now, and of course Yondalla's caveat applies.)
Even though meth hasn't been around long enough for there to be an accurate pathology for the meth-exposed child, there's still more known than "underweight and hyper."
The majority of exposed kids can either be characterized as either hummingbirds or snails.
Meth has more of an effect on the right brain as opposed to the left brain. This can result in subtle physical deformities on the left side of the body, such as reduced ear size, abnormal hair whorls on the head, reduced dexterity in the left hand, and a smaller left eye. In the case of a smaller left eye, the eyelid will appear to droop (think Paris Hilton), and the vision is often compromised. Often, the two eyes aren't weakened in the same way -- one is nearsighted and the other farsighted. With the smaller ear, it isn't just the visible ear, but all the working parts, too, and kids are much more prone to ear infections, effusions, and compromised hearing.
Heart defects, especially valve defects, are appearing more and more.
Sleep apnea is big. I also learned that sleep apnea causes brain damage to the tune of 1-2 IQ points per month. First step are meds like Singulair and Flonase. If those don't work, the tonsils and adenoids are the best next step.
Meth kids are about 3x more likely to have brain scans like those of kids with ADHD. (Did you know that ADHD meds can rebuild pathways in the brain?)
Pot-exposed kids have trouble, too. I can't recall the name of the stuff that gets blocked in their brains, and I'm just trying to get this out, but it results in not understanding (their own or others') personal space. There's other stuff, too, but that information is probably widely available.
And I'm probably the last person on earth to know this, but it turns out there's a really big staph infection problem going on. Because of that, we're supposed to keep Huck off Z-packs, just in case he gets one, and just in case he gets a resistant strain, lest he have to spend weeks in the hospital. Old school antibiotics are the new black.
In addition to all the stuff we learned above, Huck is now eligible for special ed. In the fall, he'll be going to the public school's pre-K (the state-sponsored early intervention program) five days a week, with at least an hour a day with one-on-one attention. (As testament to my "new normal," I am overjoyed that my baby qualifies for special ed...)
Huck's test scores weren't too bad at all, actually. He tested 7 months behind on his Leiter nonverbal and 6 months behind on the picture vocabulary. Unfortunately, he could have tested much higher, but 1/4 through each test he announced that he was done, and from then on just pointed at the same square over and over again (for the ppvt), and slid the blocks into the spaces in whatever order they were handed to him on the Leiter. I was so frustrated. On the verbal, one of the earlier words was "delivering," which he got right, but then he missed "fountain" toward the end. He knows what a fountain is. For both tests, he aced the first 3 minutes, then crashed and burned.
If I thought we had a lot of appointments when I wrote the last post, then I suppose we have an assload of appointments lined up now. Cardiologist, opthamologist, audiologist, ear-nose-thoat, psychiatrist, psychologist, school district, radiology, blahbedy blahbedy.
Something else we learned was that, if you're able to get medicaid after adoption, don't put the child on your health insurance at all. If doctors are working with two insurance companies, it is two sets of paperwork to fill out, and the extra $20 they'd get from your insurance costs them about $10 in wages or time, so very few docs (those that have their own practice and do the majority of paperwork themselves, that is) want to mess around with it. Doctors that are part of a medical group probably don't care as much.
In all, I'm feeling like someone worked me over with a bag of oranges, Grifters-style.