This study examined skill differences at 5 years of age for very preterm children who were or were not cooperative with developmental testing at 3 years of age. All children born between 1986 and 1991 who were less than 30 weeks of gestation were followed prospectively. Two hundred one children were seen at both the 3- and 5-year assessments. Of the 201 children, 24 (11.9%) who had been uncooperative in the assessment at 3 years were seen at 5 years. Uncooperative children were matched to a group of cooperative children for sex, gestation, and/or birth weight. Nonparametric analyses revealed that scores on the Binet Pattern Analysis (p < .01) and the Bead Memory (p < .01) subtests were significantly different between the groups. The uncooperative children scored significantly more often in the at-risk range for tests of minor neurological dysfunction (MND; p < .01) compared with cooperative matched controls. The authors speculate that in very preterm children, uncooperative behavior shown at 3 years of age associated with poor visual/spatial skills and a high level of MND at 5 years of age may reveal children at risk for the development of nonverbal learning disabilities.
Address for reprints: Crista Wocadlo, Ph.D., Department of Neonatal Medicine, King George V Hospital, Missenden Road, Camperdown 2050, Sydney, Australia; e-mail: email@example.com; fax: 02-9550-4375.
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