SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Development;
  • Prematurity;
  • Race/ethnicity;
  • Second language

Abstract

Aim

The aim of this study was to better understand the impact of non-English language spoken in the home on measures of cognition, language and behaviour in toddlers born extremely preterm.

Methods

Eight hundred and fifty children born at <28 weeks of gestational ages were studied. 427 male and 423 female participants from three racial/ethnic groups (White, Black and Hispanic) were evaluated at 18–22 months adjusted for age using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development third edition and the Brief Infant Toddler Social Emotional Assessment (BITSEA). Children whose primary language was Spanish (n = 98) were compared with children whose primary language was English (n = 752), using multivariable regression adjusted for medical and psychosocial factors.

Results

Cognitive scores were similar between groups; however, receptive, expressive and composite language scores were lower for children whose primary language was Spanish. These differences remained significant after adjustment for medical and socio-economic factors. Spanish-speaking children scored worse on the BITSEA competence and problem scores using univariate analysis, but not after adjustment for medical and socio-economic factors.

Conclusion

Our finding that preterm children whose primary language was Spanish had similar cognitive but lower language scores than those whose primary language was English suggests that using English language-based testing tools may introduce bias against non-English-speaking children born preterm.