A Novel Parent Education Program for Early Intervention

Overview

One in ten infants born in the USA is born preterm before 37 weeks of gestation and 50% of those will have motor and cognitive delays requiring intervention at school age. Because existing assessments do not reliably identify motor and cognitive delays early in development, many infants born preterm do not receive early intervention until they are older and their delays are more pronounced. This project aims to address the need for an effective, affordable, novel early intervention model for the first months of life for preterm infants.

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: May 2020

Detailed Description

One in 10 children in the United States is born preterm and at risk for disabilities that can impair movement and cognition. Research suggests that targeted early intervention can effectively improve ability and function for these children. However, two key obstacles limit the provision of early intervention services in the first half-year of life. First, the existing diagnostic tools are limited in their ability to identify motor and cognitive delays at early ages. Second, in the medical model there is a lack of understanding of developmental science and how experiences in the first months of life can impact the development of future abilities. In effect, there has been lack of knowledge regarding who should receive early intervention services and what activities should be the focus of those services in infancy.

This project aims to address these challenges by testing the fidelity and short-term efficacy of a novel intervention providing education for parents of preterm infants. The intervention will educate parents on ways to handle, position, and play with their infants to provide infants safe opportunities to explore new ways of moving and controlling their bodies and interacting with objects. Intervention provision will be documented and outcomes will be compared for 40 infants randomized to receive one of two types of developmental education. Pre- and post-assessments will compare motor control in prone, reaching ability, daily positioning practices, and parent-child interactions with toys to determine if there are differences in the short-term effects of the intervention. Intervention will occur for two months with parents logging activity daily. Measures related to dosage and how parents perform the intervention activities will be gathered to assess fidelity of the intervention.

Aim 1: To measure aspects related to fidelity for families participating in the study.

Aim 2: To determine if there is a difference in developmental outcomes for children who receive the intervention.

Interventions

  • Behavioral: Baby Play Intervention
    • Baby Play Intervention involves teaching parents targeted ways they can handle, position, and play with young infants that aim to provide infants enhanced early opportunities to learn to control their bodies and interact with objects. These abilities are associated with future motor, cognitive, and language outcomes. Parents will be asked to perform the intervention activities 20 minutes daily and to log their activity performance weekly.
  • Behavioral: Milestone Education
    • Parents in the Milestone Education Intervention group will receive information regarding milestones expected based on infants’ CA. This information is based on forms from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This will help parents understand the milestones typically observed at the their child’s CA and reflects the education parents receive from healthcare providers. Parents will be asked to provide their infants opportunities to perform these milestone behaviors 20 minutes daily and to log their activity performance weekly.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Baby Play Parent Education Group
    • Baby Play Intervention involves teaching parents targeted ways they can handle, position, and play with young infants that aim to provide infants enhanced early opportunities to learn to control their bodies and interact with objects. These abilities are associated with future motor, cognitive, and language outcomes. Parents will be asked to perform the intervention activities 20 minutes daily and to log their activity performance weekly.
  • Active Comparator: Milestone Education Group
    • Parents in the Milestone Education Intervention group will receive information regarding milestones expected based on infants’ CA. This information is based on forms from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This will help parents understand the milestones typically observed at the their child’s CA and reflects the education parents receive from healthcare providers. Parents will be asked to provide their infants opportunities to perform these milestone behaviors 20 minutes daily and to log their activity performance weekly.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Alberta Infant Motor Scale
    • Time Frame: through study completion at 2 years
    • We will assess infants using the AIMS, a valid and reliable developmental assessment for 0-18-month-olds. It consists of observation of weight bearing, posture, and antigravity movement in supine, prone, sitting, and standing subscales. Infants will receive scores for each subscale and a total sum score that will be used as outcome variables to compare the intervention groups. The AIMS will be used because the PI has shown it to be a sensitive measure of change for FT infants whose parents received handling and positioning education.

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Gestational age <37 weeks at birth
  • Access to the internet
  • Residence within driving distance of the University of Delaware

Exclusion Criteria

  • Genetic diagnosis
  • Progressive diagnosis such as spinal muscular atrophy
  • Medical or movement restrictions that would interfere with participation in the study activities

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 1 Month

Maximum Age: 1 Year

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University of Delaware
  • Collaborator
    • Christiana Care Health Services
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Michele Lobo, Assistant Professor – University of Delaware
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Michele A Lobo, PT, PhD, Principal Investigator, University of Delaware
  • Overall Contact(s)
    • Michele A Lobo, PT, PhD, 302-831-8526, malobo@udel.edu

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