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The Language of Low-birthweight Children at Four Years: Preliminary Report

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Abstract

Oral language sample analysis was used to assess expressive language development of two groups of low-birthweight children and a matched group of full-birthweight children at age four years. The low-birthweight children were classified as either small-for-dates or pre-term. The three birth groups were matched for socio-economic status and race. Receptive language, articulation and non-verbal intelligence were also assessed. Nine language measures were obtained from the language sample. No significant multivariate differences were found among the three birth groups for any of the measures, although some trends favouring the full-birthweight children were found. When the pre-term and small-for-dates children were pooled and compared with the full-birthweight children on the basis of birthweight alone (i.e. 1500g to 2000g versus 2001 g to 2500g) there were still no significant differences found for any of the variables. As these findings differ from the results in many previous studies, discussion centers on the lack of adequately controlled studies in the literature and the use of only very low-birthweight children in other studies. Le langage à quatre ans chez des enfants de faible poids de naissance; rapport préliminaire L'analyse d'échantillons de langage oral a été utilisée pour apprécier le niveau de développement de langage expressif chez trois groupes d'enfants de quatre ans, deux à faible poids de naissance et un groupe contrôle apparié d'enfants de poids de naissance normal. Les enfants de faible poids de naissance ont été classés en enfants de poids faible pour le terme ou en vrais prématurés. Les trois groupes ont été appariés pour le niveau socio-économique et la race. De plus, la compréhension orale, l'articulation et l'intelligence non verbale ont été appréciées. Neuf mesures de langage ont été obtenues à partir des échantillons. Aucune différence multivariée n'a été trouvée parmi les trois groupes pour aucune des mesures quoique quelques éléments favorisant les enfants de poids normal pour le terme ont été trouvés. Quand les prématures et les enfants de faible poids pour le terme ont été regroupés et comparés aux enfants de poids normal pour le terme sur la base du seul poids de naissance (1500-2000g contre 2000-2500g), il n'a encore été trouvé aucune différence significative pour chacune des variables. Comme ces faits diffèrent des résultats obtenus dans de nombreuses études antérieures, la discussion est centrée sur le manque dans la littérature d'études correctement contrôlées et sur l'emploi seulement de sujets de très faible poids de naissance dans le passé. Die Sprache von vierjährigen Kindern mit ehemals niedrigem Geburtsgewicht: ein vorläufiger Bericht Es wurden die Sprachaufzeichnungen von zwei Gruppen von vierjährigen Kindern—ehemals hypotrophe Kinder und vergleichbare reife Kinder—analysiert, urn die Entwicklung der sprachlichen Ausdrucksfähigkeit zu beurteilen. Die Kinder mit niedrigem Geburts-gewicht wurden in hypotrophe und frühgeborene Neugeborene eingeteilt. Die drei Gruppen entsprachen sich hinsichtlich ihres socio-ökonomischen Status und ihrer Rasse. Zusätzlich wurden das Sprachverständnis, die Artikulation und die nicht verbale Intelligenz untersucht. Neun Parameter konnten aus den Sprachaufzeichnungen entwickelt werden. Es konnte für keinen Parameter ein signifikanter Unterschiedzwischen den drei Geburtsgruppen gefunden werden, obwohl sich einige Tendenzen zugunsten der normalgewichtigen reifen Kinder abzeichneten. Selbst wenn die Frühgeborenen und die hypotrophen Neugeborenen zusam-mengefaßt und mit den riefen Neugeborenen nur auf der Basis des Geburtsgewichtes verglichen wurden, (d.h. 1500-2000g verglichen mit 200l-2500g) fand sich dennoch kein signifikanter Unterschied bezüglich der verschiedenen Maßstäbe. Da sich diese Befunde von den Ergebnissen vieler früherer Untersuchungen unterscheiden, konzentriert sich die Diskussion darin, daß in der Literatur nur wenige kontrollierte Studien zu finden sind un daß in den Untersuchungen vorwiegend nur Kinder mit sehr niedrigem Geburtsgewicht enthalten sind.

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Article
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Article
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Article
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Article
One hundred children, prematurely born, with birth or minimum weights of 1,000 gm or less, of 183 discharged alive from the Premature Nursery of The New York Hospital from 1940 through 1957, were examined between 1950 and 1962. Historical and social data and findings on physical and psychometric examinations were evaluated. With rare exceptions, physical health was good; only 3 patients had cerebral palsy; one of these and 4 others had convulsions, but in 2 of these the convulsive disorder appeared unrelated to prematurity. The children exhibited a tendency to catch up in height to normal standards for chronologic age, but often not until after 4 years of age. The incidence of eye defects was 59%; the most frequent were retrolental fibroplasia, strabismus, and myopia. Intelligence quotients determined in 99 of the prematurely born children showed a wide range (59 to 142); the average I.Q., 94.8, was significantly below the I.Q. of 106.9 found in 49 full-term sibling controls. These values were not appreciably altered by retesting, by adding more younger siblings, or by comparing premature with sibling on tests done at similar ages. Thirteen of the 99 prematurely born children had I.Q.'s below 80; among the 83 of similar birth weight but not available for examination, 32 were known to be mentally retarded and 6 of these were in institutions. The most important variable appeared to be the socioeconomic status; a significantly higher proportion of the premature children with I.Q.'s above 100 was found among families who had private medical care. An apparent advantage of white over nonwhite children was interpreted as secondary to socioeconomic level.
Article
A comprehensive follow-up of survivors of matched groups of low- and mature-birth-weight infants born in Wake County, North Carolina, was carried out when the children were approximately 8 to 10 years old. The sample included 92 who had weighed more than 2,500 gm at birth, 102 with birth weights of 1.501-2,500 gm, and 33 who had weighed 1,500 gm or less. Covariance techniques were utilized to hold background factors constant in some of the analyses. A higher proportion of the tiniest infants had sustained major physical defects (24% vs. 2-3% in other groups). This group was significantly smaller in weight and head size, and tended to come from more disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. Extensive comparisons of data from physical and psychological examinations, social histories, and school reports tended to find only a few significant differences among the groups, all of which were probably related more closely to social background than to birth weight per se. The data indicate that, aside from physical size and major physical defects, social class assumes much more importance than does birth weight in determining a child's developmental prognosis.
Article
The relationship of socioeconomic factors to pregnancy experience and later neuropsychiatric functioning was investigated by a series of retrospective and anterospective epidemiologic studies. The studies demonstrated an increased amount of brain damage in the lower socioeconomic strata, where a higher incidence of complications of pregnancy and a greater number of babies with low birth weights are found. In 992 infants examined at 40 weeks of age, pregnancy experience, birth weight and later physical status were the only major factors which could explain group differences in developmental quotients. The studies further indicated that the relatively small amount of variability found in infancy could be explained largely by the presence of damage to the central nervous system, and supported the view that at this period of life social factors affect the psychologic level of integration primarily through biologic mechanisms. Later, during the preschool period, the direct influence of the sociocultural forces on the psychologic performance becomes manifest.
Rules for transcriptionThe fetus and the newborn infantA live-year-s t u d y of preiii:tttii-ity.* Cofitor-tfio Mcdicinc~Developmental peculiarities of prematurely born children with birth weight below 1,250 grams
  • Rarrie-Rlackley S R E Behrman
  • R Walter
  • H F Thelander
Rarrie-Rlackley. S. (1972) 'Rules for transcription.' (Unpublished paper.) Behrman. R. E. (1975) 'The fetus and the newborn infant.' In Vaughan, V. C.. McKay, R. _I. (Eds.) N~~/.son Textbook ofPediutr.ic.r. 10th Edn. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders. p. 322. Centano. P. A,, Walter, R., Thelander., H. F. ( 1956) 'A live-year-s t u d y of preiii:tttii-ity.* Cofitor-tfio Mcdicinc~, 84, 269. Janus-Kakulska, A,, Lis, S. (1966) 'Developmental peculiarities of prematurely born children with birth weight below 1,250 grams.' Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 8, 285.
Rules for transcription
  • S Barrie-Blackley
The Miller-Yoder Test of Grammatical Comprehension: Experimental Edition
  • J. F. Miller
  • D. E. Yoder
A five-year studv of prematurity
  • Centano
Syntactic structures used by children with minimal brain dysfunction Unpublished doctoral dissertation
  • P J Goodding