As premmies get older, they are likely to vanish into the general child population and the fact of their premature birth is no longer seen to be significant.
Yet prematurely-born children often have gaps or lags in some of the fundamental skills needed for later school tasks. There are many fundamental skills that develop from birth onwards. Little children's fundamental skills are not usually assessed unless they have an obvious disability or their emotions and behaviours seem to be affected. Therefore these lags and gaps in important skills go unnoticed until they get to school where they are unable to learn or unable to fit in.
Otherwise clever children cannot read or do maths because attention or self-regulation or some other fundamental skill is lagging. The problem then involves dealing with lack of self-esteem and sometimes poor behaviour, because the child cannot learn easily like other children.
It is recommended that premmies be given activities that strengthen fundamental skills from an early age and these should be reinforced at kindergarten and school. They will not only help educational and behavioural outcomes, but may also change the course of brain development for the better as it proceeds through the critical years of early plasticity (Saroj Saigal in Pediatrics http://www.pediatrics.org/
Self-regulation in babies
Touch on the feet can be aversive to premmies. If this continues they may have problems with shoes, socks, walking on sand and grass.
Self-regulation in toddlers
If touch is aversive, toddlers will not like games like "round and round the garden" and will miss out on all the fun , learning and close relationships involved in these games.
Self-regulation in school-age children
If touch is aversive, cuddling may be out. However it won't just be cuddling - many different kinds of human touch may feel horrible which makes close, intimate relationships difficult
At Raising Premmies we love parents to be proactive. Proactive parents seek out knowledge about the developmental timing of fundamental skills. In the ordinary course of an ordinary day (in the car, during mealtimes, going to bed), parents can play games with their premmies that give repetition and practice in normally-emerging fundamental skills.
We also love parents to seek formal assessments of their children if they sense there are existing lags or gaps. A repertoire of games that target specific lagging skills can then be developed.
Did you know? - 50% - 75% of premmies will have some kind of developmental problem and most are in "fundamental skills". They are subtle enough to be invisible in little children and serious enough to cause problems when they go to school.