Pre-academic skill development in children who were full-term low- birthweight infants: Pilot data

Scott D. Tomchek, Shelly J. Lane, Kenneth Ottenbacher

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1 Scopus citations


This investigation assessed pre-academic skill performance in 19 preschool-aged children with no significant disability who had been full- term low-birthweight infants. Subjects were drawn from a 1988 cohort of intensive-care nursery graduates. Mean birthweight was 2239 g, and mean gestational age was 36.7 weeks. The Miller Assessment for Preschoolers (MAP) was used to measure pre-academic skill development. The MAP scores include a total score and five index scores: foundations, coordination, verbal, nonverbal, and complex tasks. Percentile scores derived from MAP testing were analyzed to determine if scores in the study population fell below the 25th percentile, indicating risk for delays in pre-academic skill performance and warranting tracking services. Results indicated that, as a group, this full- term low-birthweight sample of preschool-aged children had adequate overall pre-academic skill development. However, closer examination of MAP indices suggests the presence of some difficulties. Forty-seven percent of the sample fell below the 25th percentile risk cut-off in the Coordination Index. Also of potential concern were findings from the Verbal Index in which 21.2% of the sample scored at risk. Parental concerns about the child's development often correctly predicted deficits in appropriate MAP indices. This finding, along with findings from the data analysis, suggests that a portion of this population of children continues to be at risk for developmental difficulties. Evaluating pre-kindergarten readiness, using both formal evaluation tools and parental input, may be important for identifying children from this 'at-risk' group who may be experiencing pre-academic difficulties. Further investigation with a broader sample is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-236
Number of pages18
JournalOccupational Therapy Journal of Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997


  • Development
  • Full-term low-birthweight
  • Preschool follow up

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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