Project Lead(s): Jennifer Knight-Madden, Susan Chang-Lopez
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a serious disorder in which the body makes abnormally-shaped red blood cells that tend to block blood flow in the limbs and organs. Most children with SCD are born in the developing world and many of them also cope with anaemia, care constrained by resources and parents suffering from the stress of caring for a child with a serious chronic disease. These are all significant risk factors for poor early cognitive development and, as such, neurocognitive deficits have been demonstrated in pre-school children with SCD. Early detection and preventive interventions are a must, since lagging educational achievement impacts on employment outcomes and the ability of people to become productive members of society.
This project assesses the efficacy of using an evidence-based early stimulation program, combined with components to help parents cope with stress, delivered during six routine monthly clinic visits to parents of children with sickle cell disease. It is hoped that this innovation will improve parental psychological outcomes, as well as child developmental outcomes.