Language Development in Very Low Birth Weight Preterm Children: A Follow-Up StudyJansson-Verkasalo E.a,b · Valkama M.c · Vainionpää L.c · Pääkkö E.d · Ilkko E.d · Lehtihalmes M.a
aDepartment of Finnish, Saami and Logopaedics, bLaboratory of Clinical Neurophysiology, Departments of cPaediatrics and dDiagnostic Radiology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
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The language development of 17 very low birth weight (VLBW) preterm children was compared with that of matched controls at the ages of 2 and 4 years. At the age of 2 years, the VLBW preterm children achieved significantly lower scores in the language comprehension test than their matched controls. In addition, they used shorter and more immature sentences. At the age of 4 years, difficulties in the VLBW preterm children manifested as deficiencies in language comprehension, naming and auditory discrimination. The language test results at the age of 2 years significantly correlated with those at the age of 4 years, but mainly in the preterm group. The highest and most frequent correlations were found between the language test scores at 2 years and the auditory discrimination test scores at 4 years. The only significant correlation to be found in the control group was between the vocabulary test score at 2 years and the consonant discrimination test score at 4 years. Therefore, language development of the VLBW preterm children should be measured and monitored from toddler age onwards. Special attention should be paid to measurements of auditory processing. While the results of the present study, however, represent mainly the outcome in a group of VLBW preterm children with changes in the neonatal MRI, the results should not be generalized to all VLBW preterm children.
© 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel
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