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Phys Ther. 2015 Jan;95(1):51-64. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20130584. Epub 2014 Aug 28.

Infants born preterm demonstrate impaired object exploration behaviors throughout infancy and toddlerhood.

Author information

1
M.A. Lobo, PT, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware, 210K STAR, 540 South College Ave, Newark, DE 19713 (USA). malobo@udel.edu.
2
E. Kokkoni, MSc, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware.
3
A.B. Cunha, PT, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy, Federal University of São Carlos, São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil.
4
J.C. Galloway, PT, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Object exploration behaviors form the foundation for future global development, but little is known about how these behaviors are exhibited by infants born preterm.

OBJECTIVE:

The study objective was to longitudinally compare a comprehensive set of object exploration behaviors in infants born preterm and infants born full-term from infancy into toddlerhood.

DESIGN:

Twenty-two infants born full-term and 28 infants born preterm were monitored as they interacted with objects throughout their first 2 years.

METHODS:

Infants were provided up to 30 seconds to interact with each of 7 objects across 9 visits. Experimenters coded videos of infants' behaviors. Growth modeling and t tests were used to compare how much infants exhibited behaviors and how well they matched their behaviors to the properties of objects.

RESULTS:

Infants born preterm explored objects less in the first 6 months, exhibited less visual-haptic multimodal exploration, displayed reduced variability of exploratory behavior in a manner that reflected severity of risk, and were less able to match their behaviors to the properties of objects in a manner that reflected severity of risk. Infants born preterm with significant brain injury also had impaired bimanual abilities.

LIMITATIONS:

There was a limited sample of infants born preterm with significant brain injury.

CONCLUSIONS:

Infants born preterm have impaired abilities to interact with objects even in the first months of life. This impairment likely limits the knowledge they acquire about objects and about how they can act on them; this limited knowledge may, in turn, impair their early learning abilities. These results highlight the need for assessment and intervention tools specific for object exploration in young infants.

PMID:
25169919
PMCID:
PMC4295084
DOI:
10.2522/ptj.20130584
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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