As some of you may already know , I was born three months premature [about 25 weeks], which left me with a severe speech impediment, learning defect and other disabilities.
Several years ago I ran a web search on premature births and was surprised to learn how lightly this subject is often taken. Many sites seem to carry the message that preemies are cute, and there were many ads for clothing and other items.
As a 72 year old man,who was a preemie, I can assure you that many of these children face difficult lives. Premature births can result in a wide array of disabilities, some of the most common being, learning disabilities, speech impediments, cerebral palsy and behavior problems.
The link between medicine and behavior problems date back over a hundred years. Dr. Lightner Witmer, of the University of Pennsylvania, wrote on this subject in 1907. The following is a short quotation:
"Although clinical psychology is closely related to medicine, it is quite as closely related to sociology and to pedagogy. The school room, the juvenile courts, and the streets are a larger laboratory of psychology. An abundance of material for scientific study fails to be utilized, because the interest of pshchologists is elsewhere engaged, and those in constant touch with the actual phenomenon do not possess the training necessary to make their experience and observation of scientific value."
One in eight babies born in the United States is now born premature, and the survival rate is increasing. "Are we improving their survival rate at the expense of significant problems down the road?" asked the lead author of the new study.
I would enjoy hearing from some of you out there who are special ed teachers, speech pathologists, victims and others who are interested.