University of Oulu

Taskila H-L, Heikkinen M, Yliherva A, Välimaa T, Hallman M & Kaukola T et al. Antenatal and neonatal risk factors in very preterm children were associated with language difficulties at 9 years of age. Acta Paediatr. 2022;111:2100–2107.

Antenatal and neonatal risk factors in very preterm children were associated with language difficulties at 9 years of age

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Author: Taskila, Hanna-Leena1,2; Heikkinen, Minna1,3; Yliherva, Anneli3,4;
Organizations: 1PEDEGO Research Unit and Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Children and Adolescents, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
3Research Unit of Logopedics and Child Language Research Center, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Logopedics, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-06-16


Aim: This Finnish study compared language and reading abilities between schoolchildren born at a very low gestational age (VLGA) of <32 weeks and at term and analysed any associations between antenatal and neonatal risk factors and language skills in the VLGA group.

Methods: We prospectively followed 76 children born at a VLGA and 50 children born at term when they reached a mean age of 9.0 (8.1–10.0) years. They attended mainstream schools and had no severe neurosensory disabilities. Receptive language ability, rapid naming and word reading were evaluated using standardised tests.

Results: Children in the VLGA group had lower scores for receptive language abilities (median 55.0 vs. 57.0, p = 0.01) and word reading (mean 4.4 vs. 5.1, p = 0.03) than the children in the term group. In the VLGA group, foetal growth restriction was associated with lower scores for rapid naming, early intraventricular haemorrhage was associated with poor word reading and respiratory distress syndrome was associated with poor rapid naming (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Schoolchildren born at a VLGA had more difficulties with receptive language abilities and word reading than children born at term. Foetal growth restriction and early neonatal morbidities were associated with language difficulties.

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Series: Acta pædiatrica
ISSN: 0803-5253
ISSN-E: 1651-2227
ISSN-L: 0803-5253
Volume: 111
Issue: 11
Pages: 2100 - 2107
DOI: 10.1111/apa.16501
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 6121 Languages
3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Funding: This study was funded by the Alma and K A Snellman Foundation and the Foundation for Paediatric Research, Finland.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Acta Paediatrica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Foundation Acta Paediatrica. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.