Children who were born prematurely may be challenged at school in a number of ways, including learning disabilities, being overly impulsive, lack of concentration and difficulty handling sensory stimulus and inputs, such as bright lights, loud noises and touching.
The less a premature baby weighs at birth, the more likely it is that the child will have behavioural and learning problems in the future. There is more chance that learning and behavioural problems will occur with a premature baby if the mother has been abusing drugs and alcohol during pregnancy. Medical complications after delivery of a premature baby can also increase the likelihood of problems.
In most cases, children who were born prematurely can catch up in development as they get older. It is difficult to determine for certain if a child has learning disabilities before the age of three. After three, a child can be tested and assessed and given the correct early intervention services. Identifying and getting help with problems as early as possible, gives a child the best chance avoiding intensive assistance later on.
Some children will need ongoing help with learning all through their school career. In many cases, this involves learning and remembering things differently to other children. Children who were premature babies are considered to be natural survivors and fighters and this quality can help them cope with learning disabilities.