Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Developmental Service Delivery in Children With a History of Neonatal Seizures

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Pediatric Neurology






COVID-19; Developmental follow-up; Developmental services; Neonatal seizures


Background: Children with a history of acute provoked neonatal seizures are at high risk for disability, often requiring developmental services. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to widespread changes in how health care is delivered. Our objective was to determine the magnitude of service interruption of among children born between October 2014 and December 2017 and enrolled in the Neonatal Seizure Registry (NSR), a nine-center collaborative of pediatric centers in the United States. Methods: This is a prospective cohort study of children with acute provoked seizures with onset ≤44 weeks' gestation and evaluated at age three to six years. Parents of children enrolled in the NSR completed a survey about their child's access to developmental services between June 2020 and April 2021. Results: Among 144 children enrolled, 72 children (50%) were receiving developmental services at the time of assessment. Children receiving services were more likely to be male, born preterm, and have seizure etiology of infection or ischemic stroke. Of these children, 64 (89%) experienced a disruption in developmental services due to the pandemic, with the majority of families (n = 47, 73%) reporting that in-person services were no longer available. Conclusions: Half of children with acute provoked neonatal seizures were receiving developmental services at ages three to six years. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread changes in delivery of developmental services. Disruptions in services have the potential to impact long-term outcomes for children who rely on specialized care programs to optimize mobility and learning.