Accompanying Conditions  Preemies

Premature Infants & Speech-Language Skills

Advancements in medical science have lead to a significant increase in the survival rate of premature infants, defined as those born at less than 37 weeks gestation and/or low a birth weight of less than 2500 grams. Some people assume that although premature infants may have a delay in "starting" they will "catch up." It is thought that any differences in development will disappear by 2 to 3 years of age.

The facts are that a significant number of premature children--as many as 50-60 percent--experience difficulties throughout the school years and have been found to be in need of special education or additional resources, such as orthopedic or visual services. Some research has also shown a higher incidence of speech and language problems. Difficulty in understanding language, word finding, number of words used, average length of response, sentence complexity, and giving and understanding definitions have been reported. Furthermore, children born prematurely have scored lower on tasks requiring sequencing, organization of visual information, visual-motor integration, and attending skills. Other researchers have found no significant differences in linguistic development or on test performance.

(This information is provided by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).)

Books, clothing, videos and more for preemies. A resource for preemie parents and healthcare providers.

Nutrient needs and feeding of premature infants A discussion of the nutrient needs of premature infants.

Feeding the premature infant describes the feeding and nutritional needs of premature infants.

Premature Infants & Speech-Language Skills American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), on Health Touch. Higher incidence of speech and language problems in children born premature.

Research on the Impact of Prematurity on Speech and Language
by Allison Martin.

Support "Raising a child can be difficult enough without the rough start the premature child has. We hope that you will find the necessary support, encouragement, and friendship here."