Claire D. Coles, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine.

Job Title: Director, Maternal Substance Abuse and Child Development Laboratory

Phone: 404-712-9800

Current Projects:

Adult Development Study, a follow-up Imaging Study of offspring of women drinking in pregnancy

Teen Imaging Study, a follow-up Imaging Study of children of women using cocaine and other drugs in pregnancy

Emory Language Study, an investigation of the effects of prenatal cigarette and alcohol use on early language development.

MSACD Prevention Project, a multfocused prevention program aimed at the reduction of substance use in pregnancy and the secondary effects of such use on offspring.


Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, M.A., Psychology, 1978, Ph.D., Psychology, 1980

Oglethorpe University, Atlanta, Georgia, B.A., Psychology, Summa Cum Laude, 1975

Research Interests:

Developmental outcomes, from infancy through adultood, as a function of teratogenic exposures. Infancy and measurement of cognition, growth and emotional development in infancy and childhood. Substance abuse in women. Effects of social/family environment on developmental outcomes. Developmental disabilities in high-risk children. Developmental Psychopathology. Social and Emotional Development in risk-risk children. Prevention and Intervention with this population.

Clinical Interests:

In 1995, Dr. Coles established the Fetal Alcohol Center within the Marcus Institute with the cooperation of a number of interested colleagues and the support of the Institute and the State of Georgia. The Center's FAS Clinic is the only multidisciplinary clinic in the Southeastern United States providing specialized services to individuals prenatally exposed to drugs and alcohol. Currently it serves approximately 250-300 new families yearly providing differential diagnosis and behavior evaluation as well as psychotherapy services and referral for social and educational services for existing patients. These services have been combined with a Clinical Research focus in order to improve the range and depth of services to individuals and their families.

Specialty areas include developmental psychology and clinical psychology and services are provided to individuals from birth through adulthood.



Thomas J. Asher Award for the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities. Presented by the Atlanta Alliance on Developmental Disabilities, 2001.


Finalist, Atlanta Health Care Heroes, Presented by the Atlanta Business, Chronicle, 2002


Henry Rosett Award, In Recognition of Outstanding Contributions and Dedication in the Field of Fetal Alcohol Research, Presented by the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Study Group of the Research Society on Alcoholism, 2003


The Tom and Linda Daschle FASD Hall of Fame, National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, 2005


Special Recognition Award, Project Health Grandparent, Georgia State University, 2006


Selected Publications:

Gauiterier, TW, Drews-Botch, C, Falek, A., Coles, CD, & Brown, LA (2005) Maternal Alcohol Abuse and Neonatal infection. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research , 29 (6), 1035-1043.

Ma, X, Coles, CD, Lynch, ME, LaConte, SM, Zurkiya, O, Wang, D, & Hu, X (2005) Evaluation of corpus callosum anisotropy in young adults with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome according to diffusion tensor imaging. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 29 (7), 1214-1222.

Howell, KK, Lynch, ME, Platzman, KA, Smith, GH, & Coles, CD (2006) Prenatal alcohol exposure and ability, academic achievement, and school functioning in adolescence: A longitudinal follow-up. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 31(1), 116-126.

Padgett, LS, Strickland, D, & Coles, CD (2006) Case Study: Using a virtual reality computer game to teach fire safety skills to children diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 31 (1), 65-70.

Schuetze, PA, Eiden, RD, & Coles, CD (2007) Prenatal cocaine and other substance exposure: Effects on infant autonomic regulation at 7 months of age. Developmental Psychobiology, 49, 276-289.

Kable, JA, Coles, CD, & Taddeo, E (2007) Socio-Cognitive Habilitation using the Math Interactive learning Experience (MILE) Program for Alcohol-Affected Children. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 31 (8), 1425-1434.

Coles, CD, Strickland, DC, Padgett, LS, & Bellmoff, L. (2007) Games that “work”: Using computer games to teach alcohol-affected children about fire and street safety. Research on Developmental Disabilities, 28, 518-530.

Strickland , DC , McAllister, D, Coles, CD, & Osborne, S. (2007) An evolution of virtual reality training methodologies for children with autism and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Topics in Language Development, 27 (3), 226-241

Li, Z, Coles, CD, Lynch, ME, Ma, X, Peltier, S, & Hu, X (2007, in press) Occipital-temporal reduction and sustained visual attention deficit in prenatal alcohol exposed adults. Brain Imaging and Behavior.

Kable, JA, Coles CD, Lynch, ME, & Platzman, KA (2007, in press) Physiological Responses to Social and Cognitive Challenges in 8-year-olds with a History of Prenatal Cocaine Exposure. Developmental Psychobiology.

Coles, CD (2006) Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Human Development. In Miller, M.W (Ed), Brain Development: Normal Processes and the Effects of Alcohol and Nicotine. NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 123-142.

Howell, KH, Coles, CD, & Kable, JA (2008) The medical and developmental consequences of prenatal drug exposure. In Handbook of the Medical Consequence of Alcohol and Drug Abuse (2 nd Ed) J.Brick (ED) NY: The Haworth Press, Taylor & Francis Group, pp. 219-249.










































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