Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Political Science


Mark Brewer

Committee Members

Sandra Caron, Patrick Downey, Robert Glover, Mark Haggerty

Graduation Year

May 2020

Publication Date

Spring 5-2020


The goal of this study is to better understand the educational needs of children born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in Maine. This study will consider two questions. First, what is currently being done to help children born with NAS in Maine? To answer this question, I looked into previous studies that evaluate the needs of children born with prenatal drug exposure. I also looked into Maine’s Strategic Action Opioid Plan to determine what initiatives the state is taking towards helping these children. Second, what should Maine be doing to help the children born with NAS? To answer this question, I interviewed thirteen professionals that have knowledge in the subject area. I evaluated the interviews using content analysis to find trends amongst the interview data. Based on this analysis, I found the primary educational challenges of children born with NAS are cognitive or developmental delays, speech and language delays, dysregulation and impulsivity, social-emotional issues, and behavioral issues. Other challenges include attachment concerns and issues with the environment a child is in. From there, I found that children face barriers to receiving educational services such as difficulty with identification and referrals as well as a lack of providers. Because it is important for a child to have a supportive environment, it is important for parents with substance use disorder to have access to treatment, but stigma, limited support, and limited resources are barriers adults face when attempting to receive treatment. Services and treatment for both children and adults lack funding as well. In conclusion, this study found that more education, awareness, research, and funding are needed going forward in order to support the educational needs of children born with NAS in Maine.