The mission of the Neurobehavioral Development Laboratory is to understand how and why some babies born with a variety of risk conditions develop in a typical fashion and others develop disabilities. The laboratory studies high-risk infants from birth to obtain greater knowledge about the causes, prevention, and treatment of developmental disabilities.
The laboratory’s Infant Development Follow-up Program recruits and tests high-risk infants from the neonatal unit as well as low-risk infants for comparison, and tracks their development every few months longitudinally from birth to 8 years. Such intense study over multiple areas such as attention, motor, regulation, cognition, and social communication is comprehensive and improves predictions of outcome and efficacy of intervention.
Families whose children participate in the Follow-up Program receive a stipend on each visit to help defray any cost of participation, as well as information about their babies' development, suggestions to help their babies reach their fullest potential, and if any potential problems are identified, referrals for further evaluations.
We conduct our research in close collaboration with the Neurophysiological Development Laboratory in IBR’s Department of Infant Development and the Autism Treatment Research Laboratory in IBR’s Department of Psychology.
The following projects are being conducted under the Follow-Up Program:
- Studying how injury to the developing nervous system before, during, or soon after birth abnormally impacts neurobehavioral development as a consequence of damage or dysregulation of the developing brain.
- Determining the effects of such injury on developmental outcome in over 3500 infants, more specifically related to autoregulatory deficits with respect to autism and other developmental disabilities, including attention deficits, motor coordination problems, and language impairment, as well as more typically with respect to intellectual disability and cerebral palsy.
- Developing appropriate procedures to identify problems very early, even when the infants are newborns, and evaluating the accuracy of these procedures by following the infants into preschool and early school years.