OTD Capstone Projects


Maternal opioid use is a proliferative epidemic leading to a widespread increase in cases of Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and intrauterine drug exposure (IUDE). Much information has yet to be discovered regarding best practice in treatment and the long-term effects of these diagnoses. This retrospective chart review was conducted to increase awareness and achieve a greater understanding of early developmental deficits and intervention in this population. The researchers hypothesized that there are predictive factors of a later need for therapy services. Potentially influential factors and the prevalence of rehabilitation services provided after discharge from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) within the first year of life were examined. Two primary subgroups were initially compared; the differing characteristic between groups was whether the child received a referral to therapy prior to their first birthday. Analysis of the data indicated statistically significant results outlining factors that have predictability power of a referral to therapy. Additional analyses compared the same factors among the subgroup of subjects who had attended the Grow With Me (GWM) follow up clinic at least once. A stay in NICU, equal to or exceeding 21 days, was the statistically significant finding that resulted from this analysis. This study provides insight regarding early indicators of the need for therapeutic intervention in children diagnosed with NAS or IUDE.

Publication Date

Spring 4-13-2021

Faculty Mentor

Sue Iliff, PhD, OTR/L


Occupational Therapy, School of


Health Sciences & Nursing, Gordon E. Inman College of

Document Type

Scholarly Project


Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Degree Level


Degree Grantor

Belmont University


occupational therapy; neonatal abstinence syndrome; intrauterine drug exposure; Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; drug exposure; advocacy; opioid use; research; in utero; early intervention