Epilepsy, school readiness in Canadian children: Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth (NLSCY)
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PURPOSE: Utilizing data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) we evaluated the association between childhood epilepsy and health impairments on measures of school readiness employed in the survey. METHODS: Standard scores on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised (PPVT-R) were employed in a regression analysis to compare scores in children with and without epilepsy. We also examined the effect of impairments in any of the 8 domains of the Health Utilities index (HUI) on test scores. RESULTS: A total sample size of 39,130 children (20,044 males, and 19,086 female were included in the analysis, 33,560 children were administered the PPVT-R at a mean age of 4.5 years. There were 70 children with epilepsy, 21 had a score of 1 on the HUI, 21 were assessed to have a HUI<1 (signifying health impairments in one or more of the 8 domains). In the remainder, the PPVT scores were missing. Using the Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression for continuous outcomes model for PPVT-R scores as the outcome variable, females scored 1.1 points higher (β=1.1, 95% CI 0.755, 1.444, p=0.000), children without epilepsy and HUI score of <1 scored 3.84 points lower (β = -3.843 95% CI -4.232, -3.452, p=0.000). Children with epilepsy and a HUI score of 1 scored 9.90 points lower (β = -9.902, 95% CI -16.343, -3.461, p=0.003) while those with epilepsy and HUI<1 scored 17.30 lower (β = -17.308, 95%CI -23.776, -10.839, p=0.000). CONCLUSION: The data provide objective evidence that children with epilepsy are at risk of scholastic underachievement at school entry, while those with additional health impairments as measured by the HUI are at greater risk of underachievement.
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