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Does cerebral malaria constitute a risk factor for special educational needs?

Holding, Penny Anne; (1998) Does cerebral malaria constitute a risk factor for special educational needs? Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

In a malarial endemic area it is pre-school children who are at most risk of developing cerebral malaria. This study was designed to increase the understanding of the expected outcome for survivors through investigating both cognitive and behavioural aspects of development. A broad assessment battery was developed, taking into account both potential neurological impairments, and the particular social and cultural background of the children being assessed. Tasks, adapted from the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, and measuring information processing skills formed the core. The battery also included measures of attention, visuo-motor speed, language, and behaviour. Modifications were made to all the tests used, following assessment of the reliability and validity of the tools within the study population. A matched pairs design was applied, each "case" being matched on age; sex; and measures of socio-economic and nutritional status. The 87 pairs were assessed at 6 years old, (approximately 50 months post discharge). An investigation was made of the symptoms of the acute stage of the disease, to determine if there were any distinctive characteristics associated with poor outcome. Results on the information processing battery showed no impairments in performance for the majority of children, although a significantly greater number of cases had an impaired performance. This sub-group were identified as in need of specialist educational facilities. A combination of coma; hypoglycaemia; and fits provided the best-fit predictive model for membership of the impaired subgroup. More widespread deficits emerged in measures of language; behaviour and attention/planning. On each of these significant differences were found between cases and controls. This combination of deficits is suggestive of an immaturity in the development of survivors, which, if it should continue, may place these children at risk of educational difficulties at higher levels of schooling, when tasks become more complex.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Does cerebral malaria constitute a risk factor for special educational needs?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology; Malaria
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099771
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