Preemie Development - a quick look

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Keeping an eye on your preemies development can help you determine when a little help might be necessary.


Preemies aren't just small...

Sometimes preterm children can develop at different rates to a child born full term. In this way it is important to know the key developmental milestones and timeline so that you are able to give your preemie any help if required.

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Strategies for Phonological Difficulties

Some children, whether they are born preemie or not, have difficulties with some aspects of thinking. This section provides some recommendations for specific skills that are important for learning.

Preemies and Phonological Skills

When attempting to intervene or accommodate for a students’ difficulties in the classroom, whether it is memory, attention, or executive functions, it is important to consider the classroom culture as well as teaching style. Ideas that will benefit more students have a better chance of success.


Strategies for Phonological Difficulties

Phonological processing is an auditory processing ability. It is related to words that are spoken rather than the written word. In other words it’s about detecting and differentiating between differences in phonemes or speech sounds.


Difficulties with phonological processing may result in a number of errors of speech and or misunderstanding of other people's spoken language, difficulties include:

  • Omitting a sound or sounds in spoken words
  • Develop an inconsistent speech pattern
  • Problems rhyming words
  • Mispronouncing words and making articulation mistakes while speaking
  • Mistaking a word to be a similar sounding word to that which was spoken
  • Sounding out unfamiliar words
  • Omitting vowels when spelling


The following details some ideas to help children with phonological difficulties

Strategies at Home and School

  • Work on phonetics by practising rhyming words. Try having the student rhyme words with pictures or have them identify an incorrect word in a rhyme, for example look, book, tool, cook.
  • Break down words into syllables. Then progress to have students blend syllables, for example Mar-ket.
  • Help the child identify initial and final sounds on words.
  • Break down words into component sounds

Use manipulation tasks, such as;

  • deleting phonemes, for example say “mat” without the “m”
  • adding phonemes, for example say “gree” and “t”
  • substitution phonemes, for example say put “r” for “h” in “hat”

Technical Reference List

Bryant, P. E., Maclean, M., Bradley, L. L., & Crossland, J. (1990). Rhyme and alliteration, phoneme detection, and learning to read. Developmental Psychology, 26(3), 429-438.
Byrne, B., & Fieldingbarnsley, R. (1995). Evaluation of a program to teach phonemic awareness to young-children - a 2-year and 3-year follow-up and a new preschool trial. Journal of Educational Psychology, 87(3), 488-503.
Chard, D. J., & Dickson, S. V. (1999). Phonological awareness: Instructional and assessment guidelines. Intervention in School and Clinic, 34(5), 261-270.
Macdonald, G. W., & Cornwall, A. (1995). The relationship between phonological awareness and reading and spelling achievement 11 years later. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 28(8), 523-527.



AlbertEinstein_iconOne of the greatest minds in history, Albert Einstein was born preterm.

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Preemie, Premmie, or Prem?

Most babies spend between 38 and 42 weeks in their mother’s uterus. So, technically a preterm birth, preemie, premmie, or prem, is an infant who is born less than 37 completed gestational weeks. 

Read More: Defining Preterm birth



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