ot4kids is now on FB where I’m sharing information and resources to support families and professionals re: children with developmental delays. Do come on over. 🙂
I had planned to put up this post for National Premature Awareness Day on 17th November. Oh dear, it’s already December.
As an Occupational Therapist, I screen, follow-up and treat premature babies due to their risk of developmental delays as a means of prevention and Early Intervention. This allows me to work closely with parents and provide therapy input early to prevent problems from escalating.
In this post, I wanted to share some of my favourite resources for premature babies. However, please keep in mind that as every premature baby is different and has varied needs, this does not replace the advice provided by their medical professional. Also, an OT or PT experienced with babies is better able to provide individual advice and support geared toward individual children and families
March of Dimes has an excellent interactive program called “Understand Your Premature Infant” to help others recognize a premature babies’ signals and understand how they respond to their world.
Baby First has a nice article on promoting motor development for babies born prematurely following their NICU stay. These are general guidelines regarding positioning and recognizing the baby’s cues.
CDC has a developmental chart where you can track a child’s movement, social-emotional, fine motor, cognitive, hearing and visual milestones from 3 months to 5 years of age. These milestones can offer important clues regarding a child’s development. Be sure to adjust for a premature baby’s age, however parents should follow their gut, they are the expert on their child.
Premature babies are also at-risk of having sensory processing difficulties due to having an immature nervous system. Check out Sense-Ablebaby for more information as well as this article on sensory stimulation and premature babies.
Here is an article written by myself regarding ‘red flags’ that can indicate a delay amongst babies and toddlers.
***Premature babies should be screened early on to determine whether there are possible motor, neurological, sensory processing, orthopaedic, or cognitive delays. It is never too early to start therapy input. Early Intervention is key!