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What Happens to Children Who Are Born Too Soon


The ability to learn to read can be severely compromised among children who are born prematurely, says Lucky Jain, interim chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine.

“Mother Nature expected us to be born at 40 weeks’ gestation,” he says. “Every week of gestation that is lost results in some loss in learning and cognitive function.”

The effects of preterm birth on a child’s capacity to learn may not be obvious. But understanding these effects is not just the purview of the healthcare profession, it’s a charge Jain issues to all.

“We must make sure we have an impact on every level of a prematurity-related learning disability, even if it is just reading to a child every day or making sure the child struggling at the back of the class gets extra attention,” said Jain.

Go back to hear what Caitlin Dooley says about what we should see and hear in classrooms when there’s good instruction—and one strategy we can use to help teachers get to that point.

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