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Bender, Deborah E.; Auer, Carrie; Baran, Joan; Rodriguez, Susan; & Simeonsson, Rune (1994). Assessment of Infant and Early Childhood Development in a Periurban Bolivian Population. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 17(1), 75-81.


A study was conducted of infant development in Quintanilla Area, a group of recently settled communities in periurban Cochabamba, Bolivia. The research was a substudy of a larger investigation supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) into the changing patterns of breast-feeding and child spacing. 400 mothers with children aged 6-18 months were enrolled in the WHO study and interviewed in the household setting during June-July 1991. The infant development substudy administered the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID) to a convenience sample of 18 boys and 12 girls of these mothers. With a mean score of 100 and a standard deviation of 15, the BSID provides a Mental Development Index and a Psychomotor Developmental Index. Scores more than 1.5 standard deviations below the mean can be indicative of developmental delay. Three boys and three girls, or 20% of the infants in this study were found to have scores more than 1.5 standard deviations below the mean and may therefore be considered to potentially be developmentally disabled. Compared to the US, a larger proportion of children in this study was disabled. 20% is also at the high end of UNICEF and UNESCO estimates. The authors note that one third of the mothers of children with suspected disabilities received no prenatal care, but each of these women was attended by a physician at the birth of the child. No prenatal care and the attendance of a physician at delivery, in this environment, is often indicative of an high-risk delivery potentially including conditions such as placenta previa, prolonged labor, and asphyxiation of the newborn. High-risk delivery may also be the result of trauma associated with traditional practices such as manteo, during which a pregnant woman is swung and bounced in a blanket or hammock with the goal of repositioning the fetus. The authors also caution the possibility that convenience sampling and small sample size may have over-identified children with developmental delays compared to other children of their same cultural background.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

International Journal of Rehabilitation Research


Bender, Deborah E.
Auer, Carrie
Baran, Joan
Rodriguez, Susan
Simeonsson, Rune