Are pre-term children are at higher risk of learning difficulties and poor academic attainment?
In the average UK classroom, there will be four children who have been born prematurely. Many of these students have emerging special needs that are different to what teachers have known before, says Professor Barry Carpenter.
An EPIcure study found that:
At the age of six, only 22 per cent of children born before 28 weeks, had survived with no disability. When these children reached 11, there were four major developmental issues. More than 60 per cent had developed some form of attention deficit disorder …”
World Prematurity Day:
For the past 6 years, I’ve been quietly campaigning on my son’s website: freddiemcgill.blogspot.co.uk to raise awareness of premature birth. Around the world, 15 million babies are born prematurely every year and one million of these will not survive.
World Prematurity Day, is a global movement to raise awareness of premature birth and the sometimes devastating impact it can have on families. On 17 November 2016, parents, teachers, medical staff and campaigners from around the world come together to talk about premature birth in our countries and take action on behalf of the 15 million babies born early every year.
A Bag of Sugar:
My son was born too small and born too soon. He weighed less than a bag of sugar. A total of 2500~ babies in London were born prematurely last year at between 23 and 35 weeks. The figure nationally is typically 50,000 which is one of the highest rates in Europe.
My son was born too small and born too soon. Three months premature to be exact (28+2 weeks), weighing just 1lb 9ozs (730 grams); the equivalent to a small bag of sugar. He had less than a 50% survival chance and was diagnosed in neonatal with ‘extreme prematurity and extreme low birth weight’. Due to the extremity of his size, he fitted into the palm of one of my hands and my wedding ring slipped easily over his hand and reached to the top of his upper-shoulder! After 82 days in hospital, we finally took our son home (see photo) with an armful of ailments, medical issues and breathing from an oxygen cylinder.
Research studies have shown that pre-term children are at high risk of learning difficulties and poor academic attainment by the age of 11, particularly in mathematics. It is mathematics that often proves to be the most challenging area of the curriculum. Numeracy and mathematical computation are dealt with in the parietal lobe in the brain and we need to hear more from neuroscientists about the function of the parietal lobe and how premature birth affects that. Those [students/children] may get anxious, emotional and find it difficult to focus, concentrate and deal with the dynamics of a fast-moving classroom.
Research has found, however, that 63 per cent of children born prematurely have some form of disability or SEN, and this figure is higher among children born before 28 weeks. Not only that, many have learning difficulties that have not previously been encountered. (Source)
As premature babies develop through childhood and adulthood, it becomes harder to know which of their traits and characteristics are a result of premature birth rather than other factors. (Tommy’s Baby)
It costs £3,500 a day to look after a baby in Neo-Natal Intensive Care; Freddie was in hospital for 82 days! That’s a total of £287,000! (6 weeks in Intensive Care and 6 weeks in Special Care). We have been raising money for Bliss Charity, by making our friends aware of his story; to raise awareness of how common and traumatic, premature births are. Using our experience, we want to help other parents … Freddie’s blog does just this and it has had over 250,000 readers in 5 years. We have helped produce parent guides and videos for new parents because we had nothing when we were in hospital. If everybody who read Freddie’s story paid just £1, that would be an amazing unthinkable achievement to save the lives of so many young children born too soon.
Click the image to donate and help small miracles like my son! Thank you.
Ross McGill, from London, was one of the parents who contributed to the Tommy’s guide. His wife Jenni, 40, gave birth to their son Freddie in May 2011 at just over 28 weeks. Scans of Freddie in the womb had revealed the blood-flow from the placenta to his brain was restricting his growth. Doctors had to perform an emergency Caesarean and Freddie was delivered weighing 1lb 9oz.” (The Evening Standard)
To find out more about how Freddie is developing, you can click here to read his blog which I update every 3 months to support #WorldPrematurityDay and share our small success story with other preemie parents.