What is prematurity in babies?

Prematurity is a term used for babies born at less than 37 weeks’ gestation. Premature infants are at greater risk for short and long term complications, including disabilities and impediments in growth and cognitive development.

Up until the age of 2 a child’s age is corrected to take their prematurity into account. After this age however they are compared to children their age. This means it is important to access therapy services in the first two years to ensure developmental milestone are obtained as necessary.

How can Occupational Therapy help with prematurity in infants?

If your child was born prematurely and you have concerns about their development an Occupational Therapy assessment can identify whether they are age appropriate in their fine motor, sensory cognitive and play development. Areas your child may be able to work on with their Occupational Therapist is as follows:

  • assist development of fine motor skills such as grasping and pinching
  • assist to develop play and cognitive skills
  • improve arm, wrist and hand strength, coordination and control
  • equipment assessment and environmental modification as required
  • cognitive development through play and learning

 How can you support a child with prematurity?

Be aware of developmental milestones in relation to fine motor, play and cognitive development. Incorporate the strategies provided by the OT into your own daily routine to ensure maximum benefits from therapy.