6. Putting it all together
Watch this animation for a summary of the key social and emotional difficulties that children born preterm might experience
As we have seen in this section, children born preterm are at risk of a particular constellation of social and emotional difficulties. They are more likely to be inattentive, to have difficulties with social skills, and have more anxiety and worries than their term-born peers. A small number may have a diagnosis of ADHD or autism, but many more will have social and emotional problems that are not as severe but which may still impact on their learning and integration at school. In contrast, children born preterm are no more likely to display unruly or defiant behaviour than children who were born at term. As children born preterm are not typically hyperactive or disruptive, their problems may be more difficult to spot, especially as they may be withdrawn or anxious and too afraid to ask for help.
Please remember that every child is different. Not all children born preterm will have difficulties later in life. For those that do, it is important to be aware of the risk for these attention, social and emotional difficulties to help identify preterm children who may need support in school.