Learning abilities in a population of Italian healthy preterm children at the end of primary school

Silvia Bucci, Francesca Bevilacqua, Chiara De Marchis, Maria Franca Coletti, Simonetta Gentile, Anna Maria Dall’oglio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Delays in learning skills have been extensively reported for very preterm children. However, few studies have examined academic achievement profiles in Italian preterm children as a function of their neonatal immaturity. Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed that included 82 healthy Italian children born very and extremely preterm (without major neurosensory outcomes; IQ ≥85). Children were evaluated for academic and neurocognitive performances at the second cycle of primary school. Results: Healthy preterm children showed on average academic and neurocognitive profiles that did not differ according to gestational age. Impairment was seen to one or more learning domains in 14.6% of the healthy preterm children. Conclusions: Italian children born very and extremely preterm without major neurosensory damage and/or cognitive delay showed on average learning and neurocognitive profiles within the normal range, regardless of gestational age. Nevertheless, they showed higher proportions of learning impairment than a normative Italian population during their final years of primary school. Healthcare providers should be aware of this result, and long-term surveillance should be organized to promptly identify those children who are in need of therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7599
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2 2020


  • Clinical neurodevelopment follow-up in preterm children
  • Healthy preterm
  • Learning abilities
  • Learning impairment
  • Neurocognitive profile
  • Very preterm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Learning abilities in a population of Italian healthy preterm children at the end of primary school'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this