Thursday, February 14, 2013

Issues Former Preemies Face as They Get Older

I thought I might address some things today, as they are also things that we, as a family, deal with on a daily basis.  Four of my granddaughters (including the oldest who now lives in heaven) were less than 4 lbs, weighing 3 lb 13 oz, 3 lb 8 oz, and 3 lb 7 oz.  One weighed only 2 lb 10 oz.  

Most people think that preemies will "outgrow" any problem they have had, just as they gain weight and usually are normal in size compared to full-term children.  This is not true.  Because they were born early, some things that should have  developed before birth may never fully develop. These are mostly neurological development issues that must be overcome or coped with. They may experience coordination problems, both large and small muscle development.  They may experience language problems: speech, understanding directions, learning to read.  They may experience thinking problems: memory, abstract understanding and understanding explanations. 

While these problems may be disconcerting, the issues that bother parents and teachers the most are the behavior difficulties.  They can vary from being too shy, to too "outgoing".  From being too loud, to refusing to speak to people.  Temper tantrums and refusal to obey those in authority can be big issues. Some can be overly aggressive and boisterous in their play.  Others may refuse to play with other children. 

When I deal with one of these behavioral problems I have to remember that the child simply cannot control his emotions, much as an autistic child. While some parents really want to "baby" the child because of all he/she has been through in the hospital, they are really doing the child a disservice.  They must remain consistent, and structured to give the child security.

Here are some links you might find helpful:

In the next blog I will address things I have done to help these children in their development.

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