Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)


Early Childhood Education

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Carol Trivette

Committee Members

Pamela Evanshen, Cathy Galyon


With the incidence of prenatal drug exposure increasing, it is important that preschool teachers are prepared and confident in serving the needs of children affected by this exposure. Teachers need more training and education to prepare them for working with children with prenatal drug exposure.

The purpose of this sequential mixed-methods study was to explore the perceptions, training, and shared experiences of preschool teachers when working with 4- and 5-year-old preschool children who have experienced prenatal drug exposure. The researcher invited 77 preschool teachers in northeast Tennessee working in either Head Start or Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K Initiative programs to complete an initial quantitative survey – of which 53 participated. Of the survey participants, 34 reported they might have worked with a child with prenatal drug exposure. Six of those teachers who said they had experience with children with prenatal drug exposure participated in a follow up semi-structured interview with the researcher.

The findings revealed that preschool teachers were favorable toward children with prenatal drug exposure regarding the children’s ability to learn. Preschool teachers were already using many effective interventions (e.g., working one-on-one with the child, offering flexible seating options, repetition of information) that they may have used with other children with special needs, but they were eager for more information about the best way to work with these children. School leaders and those in teacher preparation programs would be excellent advocates in spreading knowledge and translating medical knowledge into resources more applicable to the teaching and childcare profession. It is important that the information become more accessible to all teachers and stakeholders in education.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.