Short-Term Memory and Language Outcomes After Extreme Prematurity at Birth The performance of 26 children (3;0–4;0 years) who were born before 32 weeks gestation was compared with the performance of 26 full-term children on a range of short-term memory and language measures. The measures tested vocabulary, expressive language, phonological short-term memory, and general nonverbal ability. Preterm children scored more poorly ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1998
Short-Term Memory and Language Outcomes After Extreme Prematurity at Birth
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Josie Briscoe
    University of Bristol Bristol, England
  • Susan E. Gathercole
    University of Bristol Bristol, England
  • Neil Marlow
    University of Bristol Bristol, England
  • Contact author: Josie Briscoe, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Bristol, 8 Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1TN, England. Email: josie.briscoe@bris.ac.uk
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1998
Short-Term Memory and Language Outcomes After Extreme Prematurity at Birth
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1998, Vol. 41, 654-666. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4103.654
History: Received February 27, 1997 , Accepted October 6, 1997
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1998, Vol. 41, 654-666. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4103.654
History: Received February 27, 1997; Accepted October 6, 1997

The performance of 26 children (3;0–4;0 years) who were born before 32 weeks gestation was compared with the performance of 26 full-term children on a range of short-term memory and language measures. The measures tested vocabulary, expressive language, phonological short-term memory, and general nonverbal ability. Preterm children scored more poorly across the full range of measures. The mildly depressed performance of the preterm group on the short-term memory and language measures was attributable to the large deficits on these tests shown by a subgroup of approximately one third of preterm children identified as being "at risk" for persisting language difficulties using the Bus Story Test (Bishop & Edmundson, 1987). The findings indicate that preterm birth and associated hazards may constitute a significant risk factor for specific language impairment in a sizable minority of children.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by a University of Bristol Postgraduate Scholarship award to the first author and by the Avon Premature Infant Project in the Department of Child Health, St. Michael’s Hospital, Bristol. The continued and generous cooperation of the children and parents participating in this project is gratefully acknowledged.
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