Prematurity and low birth weight are quite common and have been increasing in evidence. Research has indicated that infants that are born with a low birth weight comprised approximately 8% of live births in the United States in 2005 (National Center for Health Statistics, 2006). Children that are born prematurely are on the rise and this is largely attributed to the advances in medicine and technology.
It is important to monitor several cognitive, academic and social-emotional factors of children that are born with a low birth weight and prematurity as these children are at risk for a wide variety of possible concerns.
More specifically, research has indicated that children that are born with low birth weight may be at risk for:
- working memory and long term memory concerns
- slower processing speed
- attentional regulation
- executive functioning
- social/emotional concerns
Not every child with low birth weight or prematurity will exhibit the above concerns; however, it is always best to keep in mind that these concerns may be evident within the academic setting. A neuropsychological evaluation will help to establish a baseline of current functioning in order to monitor and track progress as well as to help determine if specific interventions and modification of the environment should be warranted.