School Outcomes of Late Preterm Infants: Special Needs and Challenges for Infants Born at 32 to 36 Weeks Gestation

J Pediatr. 2008 Jul;153(1):25-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2008.01.027. Epub 2008 Mar 19.

Abstract

Objective: Because limited long-term outcome data exist for infants born at 32 to 36 weeks gestation, we compared school outcomes between 32- to 33-week moderate preterm (MP), 34-36 week late preterm (LP) and full-term (FT) infants.

Study design: A total of 970 preterm infants and 13 671 FT control subjects were identified from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort. Test scores, teacher evaluations, and special education enrollment from kindergarten (K) to grade 5 were compared.

Results: LP infants had lower reading scores than FT infants in K to first grade (P < .05). Adjusted risk for poor reading and math scores remained elevated in first grade (P < .05). Teacher evaluations of math skills from K to first grade and reading skills from K to fifth grade were worse for LP infants (P < .05). Adjusted odds for below average skills remained higher for math in K and for reading at all grades (P < .05). Special education participation was higher for LP infants at early grades (odds ratio, 1.4-2.1). MP infants had lower test and teacher evaluation scores than FT infants and twice the risk for special education at all grade levels.

Conclusions: Persistent teacher concerns through grade 5 and greater special education needs among MP and LP infants suggest a need to start follow-up, anticipatory guidance, and interventions for infants born at 32 to 36 weeks gestation.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition
  • Education, Special
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Reading*
  • Schools