Language function after preterm birth

Teresa M. Rushe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction Normal language development is a highly complex and protracted process. As such, it is not surprising that the brain damage often associated with very preterm birth may give rise to problems in this domain. To date, several studies have documented problems in multiple domains of language function at every stage of development in very preterm born individuals. Following a brief outline of normal language development, this chapter will proceed to review studies of language function in very preterm-born samples. Th roughout the review a number of important questions are addressed. For example, do language difficulties in very pretermborn preschoolers represent a delay in the acquisition of language skills which over time recede? Or is it the case that early deficits in infants born very preterm hamper the ongoing acquisition of increasingly complex skills throughout the course of development? The factors which have been shown to predict good/bad language outcome for very preterm-born children will be also discussed. Normal language development Language is a complex cognitive process which typically emerges during the first 3 years of life, though the mastery and proficient use of language continues throughout the school years of the child and beyond. Prerequisites to language, such as the production of vowel sounds (e.g., cooing) and reduplicative babbling (e.g., dadada) typically occur in the first 8 months of life, with the first signs of word comprehension and true word production typically beginning between 11 and 13 months [1]. Word combinations emerge between 18 and 20 months, and grammatical development typically occurs between 20 and 36 months [1].

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeurodevelopmental Outcomes of Preterm Birth
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Childhood to Adult Life
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780511712166
ISBN (Print)9780521871792
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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