Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

November 3, 2016

Prematurity Series: the nursery years

March of Dimes Foundation. A Fighting Change For Every Baby

November is Prematurity Awareness Month!

March Of Dimes has released some new and concerning information about an increase in pre-term birth rates for the first time in more than 8 years, as well as statistics about North Carolina and the US.  Visit their website to read more.

During this month, read the Child and Family Development blog series about prematurity and it’s serious and predictable effects on child development during:

  • nursery years
  • preschool years
  • school years 

A baseline evaluation and ongoing assessment of children born prematurely can identify challenge areas and guide a proactive plan for a child to develop the necessary skills to be successful at every age. There are a number of ways that prematurity can affect children in the early stages of growth, while in the NURSERY SETTING.  

  • Little ones may have poor trunk stability, strength and coordination, resulting in delayed rolling, sitting, crawling, walking, talking and hand use
  • Feeding and communication may also be compromised in preterm infants
  • Inefficient breast or bottle feeding may result in poor weight gain and a slowed transition to textured food with a limited diet or picky eating.  There children may also display a decreased amount and variety of babbling and delayed use of single words

Our multidisciplinary team recommends that all children born prematurely be assessed for developmental skills and educational readiness during infancy, the preschool years and early school years.  Even children who demonstrate typical development during early years remain at risk for delays and may experience significant challenges as they get older.  

Early referral and early intervention allows potential problems to be identified and monitored to lessen the impact on academics and other areas.  An early and thorough plan will answer parent’s questions, establish a support system and ensure optimal development.