, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 247-266
Date: 29 Aug 2009

Educational Needs of School-Aged Children Born Very and Extremely Preterm: A Review

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Abstract

Recent decades have witnessed dramatically improved survival rates for infants born prematurely, especially those born very and extremely preterm. Follow-up studies concerned with long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes for children born preterm indicate that these children are at high risk for a range of cognitive, learning, neuromotor, and behavioral difficulties. However, to date, most of the existing literature has tended to focus on the medical and developmental impact of preterm birth, with little consideration given to the educational implications. Addressing this research gap is important since cognitive and educational difficulties represent the most commonly occurring cluster of adverse outcomes affecting children born very or extremely preterm, with up to two thirds likely to require educational assistance during their school years. The goal of this review is to provide an overview of existing research findings relating to the educational needs of school-age preterm children. Methodological issues that need to be addressed in future outcome research relating to the developmental and educational needs of very preterm children are also highlighted. Finally, implications of existing findings for educational psychologists, counselors, teachers, and teacher educators are discussed in terms of the roles of society, education systems, schools, and teachers.