Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Are There Differences in School Readiness for Late Preterm Infants Compared to Term? New Study Says Yes!

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief       

          How often do parents ask us if their child is ready to start kindergarten despite their meeting the age requirement?  This is especially common for parents of children born been born preterm—but what about late preterm infants 34 to 36 weeks gestation?
Woythaler et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-4043) opted to look at neurodevelopmental outcomes using a longitudinal cohort population of 950 late preterm babies, comparing them to more than 4900 term infants to see if their 24-month developmental assessment correlated with their “school readiness score” using a valid assessment tool once the subjects were age-appropriate for kindergarten.     
 The good news is that just because a late preterm infant has delayed neurodevelopment at 24 months does not mean he or she won’t be improved neurodevelopmentally by the time they are ready to enter kindergarten.  If a late preterm is developmentally on target at 20 months, the prognosis is good for moving into kindergarten when age-appropriate.  
 Have you noticed the same findings in your own patients? Do you note any developmental differences in your late preterm patients as they get older?  Share your thoughts and experience with us by responding to this blog, sending an e-letter or posting on our Facebook or Twitter sites.

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