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What Evidence-based Strategies Help Infants With Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Achieve Self-regulation?

Tina Davis, OTR/L, BCP

September 15, 2023

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Question

What evidence-based strategies help infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) achieve self-regulation?

Answer

Infants with NAS have difficulty self-regulating, impacting development, caregiver response, and feeding. Helping caregivers understand infant cues and respond appropriately facilitates self-regulation. Sensory-based strategies like swaddling, pressure, positioning, and calming environments help regulate states. Promoting a quiet alert state is important but also transitioning back to quiet sleep.

Mothers with opioid use disorders tend to overly stimulate infants - teaching calming techniques and observing cues are key. If stimulation causes stress, transitioning to calming facilitates regulation. Overall, developmental neuroprotective care is essential including promoting calming environments, safe sleep, tactile input, feeding success, and positive feeding relationships.

 

This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course, Developmental Care And Feeding Of Infants With Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, by Tina Davis.


tina davis

Tina Davis, OTR/L, BCP

Tina Davis is a board-certified pediatric occupational therapist with over 30 years of experience. She is committed to lifelong learning and passionate about the ultimate goal of OT - Achieving health, well-being, and participation in life through engagement in occupation. 


Related Courses

Developmental Care And Feeding Of Infants With Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Presented by Tina Davis, OTR/L, BCP
Video

Presenter

Tina Davis, OTR/L, BCP
Course: #5957Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Great examples of the latest research on the topic'   Read Reviews
This course will describe the OT role in early assessment and treatment of the infant born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. We will discuss unique challenges of feeding, developmental, sensory and behavioral difficulties. Case studies will be used to review evidenced based and practical strategies that can be used to foster a strengths-based and family-centered approach to care.

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Course: #5761Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Well explained with case studies to ensure understanding'   Read Reviews
The OT role in post- NICU treatment, OT assessments, formulation of goals, and evidenced-based treatment techniques will be discussed in this course. Practical strategies that can be immediately implemented into practice and ideas for supporting the families of our smallest clients will be discussed. This is Day 2 of the Early Intervention Virtual Conference.

Sensory Skills: Helping Parents to Support Sensory Development in their Children for Pediatric Feeding Success
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Many children who experience feeding difficulties struggle to develop the sensory comfort necessary to eat and enjoy a variety of different foods. This course will explore how to help parents help their children develop sensory comfort and prepare them to participate in everyday eating opportunities. The workshop, based on the principles of responsive feeding, will provide a brief overview of a child’s sensory system as it relates to feeding. The instructors will explore how practitioners can help parents to 1.Read their child’s cues, 2. Identify permission, and 3. Engage a child in daily activities to build a child’s sensory comfort and participation. There will be an emphasis on helping therapists use parent coaching techniques so that parents are the ones to support their child’s development in the context of everyday eating routines.

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