Development of preschool and academic skills in children born very preterm

Cornelieke Sandrine Hanan Aarnoudse-Moens, Jaap Oosterlaan, Hugo Joseph Duivenvoorden, Johannes Bernard van Goudoever, Nynke Weisglas-Kuperus

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To examine performance in preschool and academic skills in very preterm (gestational age ≤ 30 weeks) and term-born comparison children aged 4 to 12 years. Very preterm children (n = 200; mean age, 8.2 ± 2.5 years) born between 1996 and 2004 were compared with 230 term-born children (mean age, 8.3 ± 2.3). The Dutch National Pupil Monitoring System was used to measure preschool numerical reasoning and early linguistics, and primary school simple and complex word reading, reading comprehension, spelling, and mathematics/arithmetic. With univariate analyses of variance, we assessed the effects of preterm birth on performance across grades and on grade retention. In preschool, very preterm children performed comparably with term-born children in early linguistics, but perform more poorly (0.7 standard deviation [SD]) in numerical reasoning skills. In primary school, very preterm children scored 0.3 SD lower in complex word reading and 0.6 SD lower in mathematics/arithmetic, but performed comparably with peers in reading comprehension and spelling. They had a higher grade repeat rate (25.5%), although grade repeat did not improve their academic skills. Very preterm children do well in early linguistics, reading comprehension, and spelling, but have clinically significant deficits in numerical reasoning skills and mathematics/arithmetic, which persist with time
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-56
JournalJournal of pediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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