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Beatriz Servilha Brocchi, Speaker at Neonatology Conferences
Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas, Brazil


Delay in language acquisition is one of the disorders in premature children described in literature. The effects of prematurity, in association with such birth conditions as weight, may be considered a risk factor for the development of children’s language. This study aimed  to relate weight, gestational age,  and length of  hospital  stay with the language development of children born premature. Methods: Participants were 28 parents and their children aged 0 to 24 months corrected, with diagnosis of prematurity who were born with weight below 1500 g and/or gestational age below 33 weeks. The children were evaluated in the post-discharge routine of the same hospital of birth, through the Initial Acquisition Scale of Speech and Language. The protocol, used as a screening instrument for children aged 0 to 36 months, is divided into three categories: auditory-expressive, auditory-receptive, and visual. The evaluation data were related to the variables of weight at birth, gestational age, and length of hospital stay. Findings: The children had, on average, 4.93 months of corrected age (SD = 4.30). They presented, on average, a birth weight of 1427 g (SD = 551.24), gestational age of 30.93 weeks (SD = 2.4), and length of hospital stay of 50.96 days (SD = 23.3). More than half of the children achieved the expected performance for age in the auditory-expressive (64.1%) and visual (60%) categories. Half of them presented the same result for auditory-receptive (50%) and overall performance (57.1%). We observed a positive correlation between birth weight and the auditory-expressive category (c = 0.462, p = 0.013) and overall performance (c = 0.378, p = 0.047): a higher weight related to better scores in the categories. Meanwhile, a longer hospitalization time related, albeit weakly, to worse test performance. Conclusion: Half of the children showed the expected performance at the corrected age. The weight variable was an intervening birth condition in the language acquisition of preterm infants.


Dr. Beatriz Servilha Brocchi is a Researcher at the Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas. She holds a postdoctoral degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of São Paulo (2012) and in Human Communication Disorder from the Federal University of São Paulo (2017). She holds a bachelor’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas (2002), a Master’s degree in Psychology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas (2005), and a PhD in School and Developmental Psychology from the University of São Paulo (2009). Her studies are related to the development of children’s language, mother–child interaction, development of language prematurity, and language and intervening factors in the process of acquisition and development of oral language.