Do Infants Born Very Premature and Who Have Very Low Birth Weight Catch Up With Their Full Term Peers in Their Language Abilities by Early School Age? Purpose This study examined the extent to which children born preterm (< 37 weeks) and/or who have low birth weight (< 2,500 g) catch up with their full term peers in terms of their language abilities at early school age (≥ 5 to < 9 years). Method A ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 22, 2018
Do Infants Born Very Premature and Who Have Very Low Birth Weight Catch Up With Their Full Term Peers in Their Language Abilities by Early School Age?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Emily Zimmerman
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
  • Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Emily Zimmerman: e.zimmerman@neu.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Carolyn Mervis
    Editor: Carolyn Mervis×
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 22, 2018
Do Infants Born Very Premature and Who Have Very Low Birth Weight Catch Up With Their Full Term Peers in Their Language Abilities by Early School Age?
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, January 2018, Vol. 61, 53-65. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0150
History: Received April 12, 2016 , Revised November 8, 2016 , Accepted August 3, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, January 2018, Vol. 61, 53-65. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0150
History: Received April 12, 2016; Revised November 8, 2016; Accepted August 3, 2017

Purpose This study examined the extent to which children born preterm (< 37 weeks) and/or who have low birth weight (< 2,500 g) catch up with their full term peers in terms of their language abilities at early school age (≥ 5 to < 9 years).

Method A systematic literature search identified empirical studies that fit the inclusion criteria. Data from the tests/questionnaires used for meta-analysis spanned the following language categories: total language score, expressive language, receptive language, pragmatics, phonological awareness, and grammar. The means (standard deviations) were extracted from the studies and were converted to mean difference and 95% confidence intervals to test for overall effect.

Results Sixteen studies met the inclusionary criteria, for a total of 2,739 participants, of which 1,224 were born full term and 1,515 were born preterm. It is important to note that the preterm cohort represented very preterm infants who have a very low birth weight. The meta-analysis found that preterm infants scored significantly worse on total language (p < .001), receptive language (p < .001), expressive language (p < .001), phonological awareness (p < .001), and grammar (p = .03) than their full term peers. However, preterm infants did not score significantly worse than their peers on their pragmatics (p = .19).

Conclusions Children born VPT and who have VLBW perform worse than their peers on their total language, receptive language, expressive language, phonological awareness, and grammar abilities by early school age. This information is important for speech-language pathologists to consider as children born prematurely reach school age.

Acknowledgments
No funding was secured for this study. The author would like to thank Kelsey Thompson and Samudragupta Bora for their help with this meta-analysis.
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