According to a new study, babies born prematurely are at greater risk of academic difficulties than their term peers. Lower later academic achievement is a widespread phenomenon among preterm infants, which has considerable consequences on the children, their families, and their teachers. This is why many scientists have tried to evaluate math and reading performance in this population.

Reading difficulties, in particular, have an additive impact because they make it harder for students to thrive in both math and science. Underachievement in mathematics may affect children in many ways, potentially for life. At the same time, a lot of teachers are underprepared to teach this group appropriately. However, with the increasing number of preterm babies, it's really important to identify such issues early in order to intervene efficiently.

Researchers think that higher-order math skills are most concerned due to deficits in working memory, the function that allows people to process math problems while retrieving information from their long-term memory. The evaluation of math fluency in preterm kids is especially important due to the weight of this factor in future academic performance. While preterm kids tend to adapt to deficits in reading over time, deficits in math tend to be significant and persistent from preschool to high school.

Picture: Premature Infant (Brian Hall, Wikimedia Commons, w/Effects)