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May 1985

Early Identification of Learning Problems in Neonatal Intensive Care Graduates

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics (Dr Sell and Mss Gluckman and Williams), and the Division of Computer Systems and Biostatistics (Dr Gaines), Arizona Health Sciences Center, Tucson.

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(5):460-463. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140070034025

• Most investigators have documented a notable frequency of educational problems in children who received treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Seventy-four children born between 1972 and 1976 and in NICUs were followed up prospectively. At ages 3 to 6 years, preschool development was within the normal range on the McCarthy scales. A school problem, defined as grade repetition and/or special help in school, occurred in 32 (48.8%). Those with school problems had significantly lower scores on the McCarthy scales at 4 to 6 years and on the Woodcock Johnson test than the group without school problems. Children with school problems were classified correctly 60.3% of the time by duration of neonatal hospitalization, and 72% to 80.9% of the time by preschool development. If replicable, the data indicate that potential school problems can be identified sufficiently early in NICU nursery graduates that intervention could be started before they enter school.

(AJDC 1985;139:460-463)