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Preterm Birth: Causes, Consequences, and Prevention
Number of Subjects
Gestational Age (wk)
Birth Weight (g)
Percentage of Subjects with Scores:
2 SDs below the Mean
1–2 SDs below the Mean
motor integration, memory for location, sustained attention, and vocabulary, as compared to a matched control group of children born at term (Caravale et al., 2005).
A number of studies have demonstrated that preterm children who were born with birth weights less than 1,000 or 1,500 grams and who had normal IQ scores have more problems with attention, executive function (i.e., organization and planning skills), memory, language, learning disabilities, spatial skills, and fine and gross motor function than controls who were born with normal birth weights (Anderson and Doyle, 2003; Aylwarda, 2002a; Goyen et al., 1998; Grunau et al., 2005; Hack and Taylor, 2000; Halsey et al., 1993; Mikkola et al., 2005; O’Callaghan et al., 1996; Ornstein et al., 1991; Rose et al., 2005; Saigal et al., 1991).
Difficulty with cognitive processes contributes to the increased risk of school problems seen in children born preterm (Aylward, 2002a; Grunau et al., 2002). In a study of 153 children born at less than 28 weeks of gestation, only half were ready and able to enter kindergarten with their peers (Msall et al., 1992). Speech and language delays, attention deficits, and learning disabilities were common. Among 8- to 10-year-old children who were born preterm with birth weights of less than 800 or 1,000 grams, 13 to 33 percent repeated a grade, 15 to 47 percent required some special education support, and 2 to 20 percent were in special education placements (Buck et al., 2000; Gross et al., 2001; Whitfield et al., 1997).