Behavioural, social and emotional outcomes following preterm birth

3. Attention problems and ADHD continued

Many children born preterm may not have attention problems that are severe enough to be diagnosed with ADHD, but may still have difficulties with attention and concentration that affect their learning.

Attention problems may manifest in many different ways in classroom. Such as:

  • Having trouble paying attention to activities or tasks
  • Being easily distracted
  • Making careless mistakes with schoolwork
  • Having difficulty following instructions
  • Being forgetful or losing things
  • Failing to pay close attention to details
  • Being disorganised in schoolwork or activities

Importantly, because children born preterm with attention problems tend not to be hyperactive or disruptive, their difficulties can be harder to spot in the classroom and they may be overlooked. That is why it is important to recognise that children born preterm may struggle with attention and may need support with classroom activities.

School child's attention drifts away from the learning task at hand