Learning Difficulties


Some children born premature or sick at birth, may experience cognitive and learning difficulties when they start school or later through their schooling years as level of difficulty increases.   As parents or primary caregivers we encourage you to share your child’s medical history and birth experience with your school and classroom teacher.  Working on this together and identifying any needs can help your child get the right help earlier which can make a huge difference to their development and school years. 

“My daughter was born at 25 weeks. Her infant years appeared fine, however as she moved up to grade 3 and above, the work got harder and she wasn’t given enough time to comprehend the information and started to fall behind. She struggles with her short term memory, so she needs the information given to her a few of times over. Once teachers were aware of this, they could give her the extra detail and strategy for her to work through lessons at her own pace. She didn’t need any significant extra support, just some more time than most students. She is now 16 years and has developed the skills herself to work through what she needs in class to help her remember and review back to notes.”  - Miracle Mum, Kylie shared. 


CLICK HERE to read article. Taken straight from the research conclusion:

“Children who are born preterm are more likely than children born at term to have deficits in both decoding and reading comprehension. The results of this meta-analysis add to the growing body of literature providing evidence that preterm children continue to exhibit deficits at school age across a wide range of academic and cognitive domains, even with substantial advancements in neonatal care.8,12,53 There are several important implications of these findings. Early identification of children with poor reading attainment, and early intervention implementation, has been shown to greatly improve reading outcomes in school-aged children”.


Some children may experience learning difficulties such as:

  • Cognitive Delay
  • Reading & Comprehension
  • Mathematical Decoding
  • Short Term Memory

All schools and classroom teachers will have different rules, requirements and expectations for their students. Being engaged with your child and their learning and homework will help highlight areas that may require some extra attention for you to discuss with your child’s teacher for input and further direction.


Please remember that you are not alone if you child is struggling in school. Some children born premature or sick at birth have had a more challenging start to life and will sometimes need more support. Making sure your child’s teachers and school are aware of their history is a great place to start. Keep in regular touch with your child’s teacher.

If your child is having difficulty, meet with your child’s teacher and review the areas together that need some extra attention, speak with your child, find out what makes this difficult for them. By understanding where they have the difficulty, your GP, Paediatrician, Educational Psychologist or school will be able to direct you for any possible assessments or extra support.    

You are the best advocate for your child and working together you can improve your child’s learning and school experience. 

A good blog to read from another Mum:

Some learning difficulties may require external support and help outside of the school environment.  These may not be directly linked to being born premature or sick at birth but will be helpful for parents to be aware of other challenges that might need more direct treatment and support.  

Need support? NurtureConnect allows you to connect with our NurtureProgram support team, or call our 24 hour NurtureLine 1300 622 243 or join our Facebook community.


Confirmation Content

Disclaimer: This publication by Miracle Babies Foundation is intended solely for general education and assistance and it is it is not medical advice or a healthcare recommendation. It should not be used for the purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment for any individual condition. This publication has been developed by our Parent Advisory Team (all who are parents of premature and sick babies) and has been reviewed and approved by a Clinical Advisory Team. This publication is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Miracle Babies Foundation recommends that professional medical advice and services be sought out from a qualified healthcare provider familiar with your personal circumstances.To the extent permitted by law, Miracle Babies Foundation excludes and disclaims any liability of any kind (directly or indirectly arising) to any reader of this publication who acts or does not act in reliance wholly or partly on the content of this general publication. If you would like to provide any feedback on the information please email [email protected].