University of WarwickThe lifelong effects of premature birth (Psychology)

The lifelong effects of premature birth (Psychology)

Every year 15 million children globally are born prematurely (before 37 weeks). Preterm birth is the main cause of child mortality and affects life chances into adulthood. Professor Dieter Wolke (pictured) has undertaken research which has identified lifelong social, physical and mental impacts of preterm birth. The research created a screening questionnaire - the Parent Report of Children's Abilities-Revised (PARCA-R) - to identify cognitive and language deficits and inform follow up care. Healthcare organisations, including NICE, have updated their guidance to include PARCA-R.

More than 1,200 healthcare and education professionals globally have used the PARCA-R screening test.

The research also influenced the European Foundation of the Care of Newborns and Infants' care standards for preterm children. These have now been endorsed by over 50 European healthcare organisations. In addition, the UK’s Department for Education requires that admission authorities consider the age group a child would have fallen into if born on time when starting primary school. Each year 6,500 parents in England and Wales ask for postponed school entry due to the effects of preterm birth.

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