School problems are common in children born with extremely low birth weight. Children who weigh between one and two pounds at birth are much more likely to have continuing problems in school than normal-weight babies, report researchers in a recent study. Researchers studied 436 children from Canada, the United States, Bavaria and Holland who weighed less than two pounds at birth. They followed these children through middle childhood (eight to 11 years of age) assessing each child over time with a variety of cognitive and academic tests. Parents reported on special-education assistance and grade repetition.
The results indicated that more than half the children in the study experienced serious educational problems. This international study confirms that children born with extremely low birth weight are likely to continue to experience school-related difficulties throughout elementary school and to need special-education services at a much higher rate than normal-birth weight children.
Pediatrics, Volume 112, 2003, pp. 943-950.
Published in ERN March 2004 Volume 17 Number 3