Can learning disabilities in children who were extremely low birth weight be identified at school entry?

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1992 Oct;13(5):356-62.


This prospective study was designed to test the hypothesis that a significant proportion of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) children identified as "at risk" for school problems at age 5 years by the Florida Kindergarten Screening Battery (FKSB) will present with specific learning disability (LD) when retested at age 8 years. A regional cohort of 81 of 84 ELBW survivors born between 1980 and 1982 were reassessed at age 8 years by Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (WISC-R), Wide Range Achievement Test-Revised (WRAT-R), and tests of motor function. The association of FKSB risk status and WRAT-R reading subtest for predicting general reading disability in the overall sample at age 8 years resulted in a sensitivity of 0.68, specificity of 0.48, and a likelihood ratio of 1.3. Of the 43 "normal" children at age 5 years with no neurosensory impairments and IQ > or = 84 (McCarthy GCI), 49% were considered to be at "mild" to "high" risk for future LD. The prevalence of specific LD (reading disorder) at age 8 years in children with normal IQ (WISC-R > or = 85) was 28%. The positive predictive value of the 5-year FKSB for identifying children with specific LD at age 8 years was 0.20 (sensitivity 0.33, specificity 0.48). We conclude the FKSB is not an efficient tool for predicting either general or specific LD in ELBW children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight / psychology*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / psychology
  • Learning Disabilities / diagnosis*
  • Learning Disabilities / psychology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment