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Title: Nature and origins of mathematics difficulties in very preterm children: A different etiology than Developmental Dyscalculia
Authors: Simms, Victoria
Gilmore, Camilla
Cragg, Lucy
Clayton, Sarah
Marlow, Neil
Johnson, Samantha
First Published: 10-Dec-2014
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group for Amercian Pediatric Society, European Society for Paediatric Research, International Pediatric Research Foundation, Society for Pediatric Research (SPR), European Paediatric Research Society (ESPR)
Citation: Pediatric Research (2015) 77, 389–395
Abstract: Background. Children born very preterm (<32 weeks) are at high risk for mathematics learning difficulties that are out of proportion to other academic and cognitive deficits. However, the aetiology of mathematics difficulties in very preterm children is unknown. We sought to identify the nature and origins of preterm children’s mathematics difficulties. Methods. 115 very preterm children aged 8-10 years were assessed in school with a control group of 77 term-born classmates. Achievement in mathematics, working memory, visuospatial processing, inhibition and processing speed were assessed using standardised tests. Numerical representations and specific mathematics skills were assessed using experimental tests. Results. Very preterm children had significantly poorer mathematics achievement, working memory and visuo-spatial skills than term-born controls. Although preterm children had poorer performance in specific mathematics skills, there was no evidence of imprecise numerical representations. Difficulties in mathematics were associated with deficits in visuospatial processing and working memory. Conclusions. Mathematics difficulties in very preterm children are associated with deficits in working memory and visuo-spatial processing not numerical representations. Thus very preterm children’s mathematics difficulties are different in nature from those of children with developmental dyscalculia. Interventions targeting general cognitive problems, rather than numerical representations, are needed to improve very preterm children’s achievement.
DOI Link: 10.1038/pr.2014.184
ISSN: 0031-3998
eISSN: 1530-0447
Version: Post-print
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Archived with reference to SHERPA/RoMEO and publisher website. Version of record:
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Health Sciences

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