Foetal growth restriction is associated with poor reading and spelling skills at eight years to 10 years of age

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Abstract

Aim:

Foetal growth restriction (FGR) is associated with communication problems, which might lead to poor literacy skills. The reading and spelling skills of eight- to 10-year-old FGR children born at 24–40 gestational weeks were compared with those of their gestational age–matched, appropriately grown (AGA) peers.

Methods:

A prospectively collected cohort of 37 FGR and 31 AGA children was recruited prenatally at a Finnish tertiary care centre during 1998–2001. The children's reading and spelling skills were assessed using standardised tests for Finnish-speaking second and third graders.

Results:

Significantly more children performed below the 10th percentile normal values for reading and spelling skills in the FGR group than in the AGA group. At nine years of age, the FGR children had significantly poorer performance in word reading skills and reading fluency, reading accuracy and reading comprehension than the AGA controls. No between-group differences were detected at eight years of age.

Conclusion:

FGR is associated with poor performance in reading and spelling skills. A third of the FGR children performed below the 10th percentile normal values at nine years of age. These results indicate a need to continuously evaluate linguistic and literacy skills as FGR children age to ensure optimal support.

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