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Early Intervention for Low-Birth-Weight Premature Infants What Can We Achieve?

Low-birth-weight (LBW) premature infants are at increased risk for abnormal development. It is unclear whether intervention programs designed to prevent the disabilities in preterm children are efficacious. This paper reviews the settings in which interventions take place (e.g. nursery, home) and to whom they are directed (e.g. infant, parent). One intervention program, the Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP) is reviewed in detail. The IHDP was a multisite randomized clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of combining developmental and support services along with paediatric follow-up to reduce the developmental problems seen among LBW preterm infants. Results from all studies suggest that preventive developmental interventions for LBW, premature infants have thus far demonstrated only modest success. Future research endeavours should investigate the type, duration, critical age onset, and intensity of the intervention as well as which subgroups of LBW infants most benefit from such programs


McCarton, C. M., Wallace, I., & Bennett, F. C. (1996). Early Intervention for Low-Birth-Weight Premature Infants: What Can We Achieve? Annals of Medicine, 28(3), 221-225. DOI: 10.3109/07853899609033123

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