Childhood After Preterm Birth

Principal Investigator(s): Lisa McElaney, MFA
Funding Agency: NIH / NICHD
Dates: 06/01/2007 – 12/31/2008
Reference: 1R43HD055045
Status: Phase I complete; Phase II not pursued
Abstract: In the past decade, there has been dramatic improvement in the survival rate of infants born preterm — i.e., after a pregnancy of less than 37 weeks. As more of these infants leave the neonatal intensive care unit for home, we are just beginning to recognize the special needs of these young children as infants and toddlers. Parents and early childhood providers (early intervention specialists, daycare providers and early childhood educators, nurses, pediatricians, social workers) can all do a better job if they know what to expect and how to help. The project was designed to advance the training of early childhood providers serving children with special needs and their families, and provide much needed education, at appropriate literacy levels, for parents about ways to prepare for the child’s school years. In this Phase I SBIR project, Vida Health Communications, Inc. developed the content and produced prototype segments of the media and print materials for: (1) A provider training program on DVD to convey information about the likely needs of infants and toddlers who were born preterm in areas such as cognition, visual and motor skills, speech and language, and executive function. The training was designed to provide and illustrate effective strategies for providers to use to guide and support the parents. (2) A companion DVD program for parents of young children born preterm explaining in lay terms the developmental course of infants and toddlers, and types of special needs that potentially challenge children born preterm. It also provided and illustrated effective strategies for parents to monitor and enhance their child’s development, and to garner appropriate resources for the child’s preschool years. These materials were then evaluated using focus groups representative of the target audiences. Evaluators used well-documented qualitative techniques to analyze focus group data. Vida did not pursue Phase II due to the lack of a viable commercialization path.
Findings: Phase II was not pursued.

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