Pre-Morbid Developmental Vulnerabilities in Children With Newly Diagnosed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

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Abstract

Background.

Not all children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were developing in a typical manner prior to diagnosis. Pre-existing developmental vulnerabilities (DV) may be related to long-term neuropsychological sequelae following ALL treatment, yet little is known about the prevalence or nature of prior DV in this population.

Procedure.

Children with newly diagnosed ALL aged 2–18 years (n = 115) were screened for DV by asking parents about the child's prior developmental history and with the Developmental Profile-3 (DP-3).

Results.

Twenty-six participants (23% of total sample) screened positive for prior DV, with one or more of the following: delayed early motor and/or language milestones that required intervention (n = 17), prior diagnosis of Down syndrome (n = 3), prior diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (n = 1), prior diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and/or learning disability (n = 6), or prior neurological conditions (n = 5).

Conclusions.

A sizable proportion of children with newly diagnosed ALL have pre-morbid DV that could potentially make them more vulnerable to reduced educational opportunities during treatment and neurotoxic late effects following treatment. Identification of the subset of children with ALL and DV is essential to direct early interventions and to study their long-term outcomes. Pediatr Blood Cancer © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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