240603 Impact of a Preschool Program Designed to Improve Development of Lead Poisoned Burmese Children

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 1:18 PM

Leslie L. Lawson, BS, MS , Lead Teacher TAP Preschool, East Allen County Schools, Fort Wayne, IN
Robert M. Saywell, PhD , Department of Family Medicine, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN
Terrell W. Zollinger, DrPH , Department of Public Health, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN
Amy J. Brandt, BS , Department of Public Health, Bowen Research Center Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Amy J. Hesting, BS , Lead and Healthy Homes Program, Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health, Fort Wayne, IN
Purpose: This study examined the effectiveness of a preschool program targeting children arriving with refugees from Burma who are experiencing developmental delays due to lead poisoning.

Methods: Burmese refugee children with a blood lead level (BLL) of 5 g/dL or greater were enrolled in a targeted preschool program to assess and address their developmental delays. The intervention coupled half day class activities and home activities designed to improve the development of the children. The Indiana Standards Tool for Alternate Reporting for Kindergarten Readiness instrument assessed the children in the areas of math, language, physical skills, personal care, and social-emotional skills. The 19 children involved in this demonstration project were assessed at the beginning of the school year, the middle of the year, and at the end of the school year.

Results: At the beginning of the program, many of the children showed significant delay in math, language and social-emotional skills as well as auditory processing. Baseline assessment revealed scores less than 40 percent achievement on the math, language, and social-emotional assessments. Significant improvements were seen in all 5 areas at 4 months and at 8 months follow up. Scores increased from 24.0% to 41.7%, 25.6% to 48.5%; 69.9% to 87.8%, 76.7% to 86.5%, and 39.6% to 61.5% for math, language, physical skills, personal care, and social emotional scores, respectively at 4 months follow up. These increased again to 51.7%, 55.1%, 91.0%, 91.1% and 69.5% respectively at 8 months follow up. All areas showed an inverse relationship between blood lead level and performance scores. Children with higher BLL values had less improvement than children with lower BLL values.

Conclusions: The results demonstrated the effectiveness of the targeted preschool program in achieving its primary goal of adequately addressing developmental delay to enable these children to lead healthy productive lives.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how to assess developmental delays associated with lead poisoned Burmese children whose families have immigrated to the U.S. 2. Identify the value of offering a preschool program tailored to meet the specific needs of these children. 3. Define an evaluation plan to measure the impact of preschool programs designed to address developmental delays.

Keywords: Lead, Refugees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a part of the research team and will continue to work on this project in the future.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.