Abstract

OBJECTIVE. We describe the prevalence and type of sensory processing differences in children born very preterm and determine associations with neonatal risk factors.

METHOD. We assessed sensory processing patterns using the Short Sensory Profile in a retrospective cohort of 160 children age 4 yr born very preterm (≤32 wk gestational age). Data analyses included descriptive statistics to describe the prevalence of sensory processing patterns and logistic regression to examine associations with neonatal risk factors.

RESULTS. Almost half of our cohort (46%) exhibited atypical sensory processing patterns. Lower Apgar scores (p = .03) and longer length of stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU; p = .02) independently predicted atypical sensory processing patterns.

CONCLUSION. Children born very preterm are at increased risk for sensory processing differences, which are associated with perinatal risk factors and length of stay in the NICU. Routine evaluation for sensory processing differences of children born preterm is recommended.

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