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Pediatrics. 1988 Jan;81(1):127-33.

Educational late effects in long-term survivors of childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia.

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Department of Special Education, Temple University, Philadelphia.


Records of levels of school achievement in long-term survivors of childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia were obtained for 23 children who had received 2,400-rad cranial irradiation and intrathecal methotrexate and standard chemotherapeutic agents 8 to 10 years previously. The children had been evaluated with standardized tests of intelligence at the time of diagnosis and periodically thereafter. Declines in IQ and cognitive dysfunctions have been previously described. School placements, educational histories, attendance records, learning strengths and weaknesses, social/emotional adjustments, and grade level achievements in reading and mathematics as measured by standardized achievement tests are reported here. Children achieved less than the expected levels in both reading and mathematics given both pretreatment and most recent IQ scores. Neither sex nor initial IQ were related to achievement scores. Children experienced difficulty with attention/concentration, memory, sequencing, and comprehension when performing school tasks. Individual children showed different degrees of dysfunction, but results of this study suggest that there are patterns of specific learning disabilities rather than global retardation. A small number of children achieved greater than expected levels, indicating that individualized instruction, tutoring, and parental support may reduce some learning deficits. Early educational intervention is recommended for similarly treated patients.

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