Technological advancements made in neonatal care are believed to be credited for enabling premature infants born with respiratory problems to be ready for school at the right age. However this is not the same for premature infants with similar health issues born in low socioeconomic families. This observation has been made by the experts from the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Seemingly, till date various issues were noted to be linked with lower school readiness. However, by far the most powerful factor determining the school-readiness level is noted to be socioeconomic status.
Study author, Jeremy Marks, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics, says, “The good news is premature babies are surviving. Neonatology has done a remarkable job in lowering mortality without increasing morbidity. The bad news is poverty leads to huge disparities in school readiness, with poor kids faring four times worse than others.”
For the purpose of the study, the experts were noted to have assessed a number of babies born prematurely with immature lungs. Apparently, these experts wanted to evaluate the number of children that would be ready for school at the right school-going age, and also the various issues which may be linked with the lack of school readiness among these children.
After a few years, a follow-up was conducted on these infants. The assessed children were accordingly classified school-readiness score on the basis of their understanding of receptive vocabulary, basic concepts, functional skills, perceptual skills, etc. Apart from this, the evaluation evidently also included standardized neuro-developmental and health assessments, along with the socioeconomic status of the families.
Study lead author, Michael Schreiber, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago, says, “As an academic specialist, our expertise is in improving outcomes for preemies and treating babies with severe lung disease, intracranial bleeding and other complex diagnoses. However, the stresses of poverty really put our neonatal ICU graduates behind the eight ball, developmentally.”
Schreiber further continues that they will carry on with their search for latest and more improved therapies which will be beneficial in the care of prematurely born infants. However, it was also stated that society may have to fund the added long-term resources to aid these infants in making full use of the medical advancements.
These findings have been published in the journal Pediatrics.