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Are Premature Babies Delayed?

The term premature refers to any infant that was born earlier than 37 weeks of gestation. Premature births occur in 10% of all live births. Premature babies (“preemies”) are at risk for multiple health problems, including breathing difficulties, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, and delays in their gross and fine motor skills.

Premature baby

Why are babies born pre-term?

The cause of premature labor is not fully understood. However, there are certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood of premature labor: a woman that has experienced premature labor with a previous birth, a woman that is pregnant with multiples (twins, triplets, etc), and a woman with cervical or uterine defects. Certain health problems can also increase the risk of premature labor, including diabetes, high blood pressure and preeclampsia, obesity, in-vitro fertilization, and a short time period between pregnancies.

What are the effects of being born pre-term?

In addition to multiple medical complications, a baby that is born before 37 weeks of gestation is at risk for developmental problems in gross motor skills, fine motor skills, sensory integration, speech and language skills, and learning. The baby may take longer to reach specific developmental milestones or need help to reach those milestones. The earlier babies are born, the more at risk they are for having delays. Each child is different as well, and no two preemies will be delayed in exactly the same manner.

If you or your pediatrician suspects that your baby is developmentally delayed, there are a variety of professionals that can assist your child in achieving his or her full potential. A physical therapist can help facilitate development of gross motor milestones such as sitting, crawling, walking, running, or jumping. An occupational therapist can help develop fine motor skills such as object manipulation, hand-eye coordination, and reaching, as well as sensory integration. Speech therapists can help improve language skills and articulation.  Consult with your pediatrician or talk with one of our Family Child Advocates to receive more information on setting up an evaluation with a skilled therapist at NSPT.

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Neuropsychology Posts

diabetes

Neuropsychological Aspects of Diabetes

 

 

 

Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder associated with an inability of the affected person’s/child’s pancreas to secrete insulin. There are two types of diabetes (type I and type II). Read on to understand the neuropsychological aspects of Diabetes.

Type I Diabetes:

Type I diabetes is considered to be insulin dependent in which the child must take insulin injections, as there is a complete inability for the body to produce insulin. Type I Diabetes is associated with unusual thirst, excessive urination, rapid unexplained weight loss, and overwhelming fatigue. This is one of the most prevalent chronic childhood diseases with approximately 29,000 new cases diagnosed each year. The peak incidence rate of type diabetes is between 10 and 14 years of age.

Type II Diabetes:

Type II diabetes is considered to be non-insulin dependent and is rarely signaled by a clinically obvious medical crisis. Type II is most common in individuals who are over forty years old and whose body mass index is greater than 25 (considered overweight). This is a fairly common condition in that there are approximately 600,000 new cases identified each year.

Neuropsychological Aspects of Diabetes:

Research has indicated that age of onset of diabetes is a critical factor in secondary cognitive impact. What this means is that children who have been diagnosed with diabetes in the first four to six years of age are more prone to significantly lower cognitive scores. This is also found to be true with concerns with attentional regulation. In general, children and adolescents with a diagnosis of diabetes are not more prone for a diagnosis of ADHD; however, if the child had been diagnosed with diabetes early in life, they are more likely to exhibit symptoms of ADHD.

Children and adolescents with late onset diagnosis of diabetes are more prone to concerns with verbal cognitive functioning and academic achievement in comparison to a control group of non-diabetic children and adolescents.
Overall, diabetes can be a pretty well-controlled disorder. If children and adolescents control their insulin levels, they tend to not demonstrate more neurocognitive concerns than their non-diabetic peers.

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