I just received a new article on my Preemie Mom mailing list and the weight of it threw me for a loop. Some of it I already knew and some of it I just plain feared. Maybe it’s just my left-brained nature, but I am often comforted by facts and statistics. It’s just the way I am wired. This particular piece was a study done over the last 23 years monitoring the after effects of prematurity. 23 years! Here were some key findings:
- Pre-term infants with no medical conditions have more learning disabilities, struggles with mathematics and need more school services than full-term babies. One of Sullivan’s studies determined that at least one-third of babies born pre-term needed school services at some point during their education. Out of that group, 22 percent of the healthy pre-term babies received school services. Almost one quarter of this group had an Individualized Education Plan (special education plan governed by federal and state law), with 15 percent receiving resources, 7 percent in self-contained classroom settings, and 11 percent receiving speech and language services.
- Some children of pre-term birth are less coordinated, which may be related to brain development and effects of neonatal intensive care.
- They have fewer friends and boys have more difficulty in school.
Heavy heart? Nah, here was the beautiful silver lining to the study:
- Children who were born pre-term have a persistent drive to succeed.
- Children whose mothers provided a nurturing environment and who were strong advocates for them in school performed better academically, socially and physically. These are called protective factors and they work to counter the effects of pre-term birth.
“These findings are important for parents, nurses in the neo-natal intensive care units, teachers and staff in the schools, disability services offices in colleges and primary care providers,” Sullivan said. “By identifying the issues pre-term babies face in childhood, adolescence and through adulthood, we can all be better prepared to take steps to mitigate their effects.”
Mothers whom are strong advocates and nurturing have better results? Well, then just look for Jp in the White House in 20 years. 😉
Article of Reference: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110615171408.htm
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