Importance of early recognition of risk factors for preventing reading difficulties

In Croatia, there is not much research on the links between premature birth and reading and writing skills of preterm children. Preterm birth is known to represent a factor of developmental neurorisk, but its consequences for language development, reading and writing are still unknown. Preterm children often achieve lower results in the tasks of complex activities and skills such as reading and writing, although their development in simple processes is undisturbed. Because of this discrepancy, many weaknesses remain undisclosed. The aim of this study was to determine whether the values of perinatal measures (gestational age, birth weight, Apgar 1 and 2 values) are valid predictors of reading skills, and if lower scores, as found in preterm children, are linked with reading difficulties. The study included 34 preterm children and 34 control term children. Study results showed that reading outcomes could be predicted in ten- and eleven-year-old children based on their measured perinatal factors. Also, there was a tendency to a higher incidence of reading difficulties in preterm children as compared to control group. The intention of this report is to raise awareness of the necessity of systematic tracking and speech and language pathologist assessment of preterm children, especially when it comes to language and prereading skills. Preventive activities should also include intervention programs in these fields in order to prevent learning difficulties.

Category: Original scientific paper
Volume: Vol. 56, No 1, january - march 2012
Authors: M. Lenček, Z. Kolundžić, D. Arapović
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