Parental Book-Reading to Preterm Born Infants in NICU: The Effects on Language Development in the First Two Years

Neri, Erica, De Pascalis, Leonardo ORCID: 0000-0002-9150-3468, Agostini, Francesca, Genova, Federica, Biasini, Augusto, Stella, Marcello and Trombini, Elena
(2021) Parental Book-Reading to Preterm Born Infants in NICU: The Effects on Language Development in the First Two Years. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH, 18 (21). 11361-.

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After preterm birth, infants are at high risk for delays in language development. A promising intervention to reduce this risk is represented by the exposure to parental voices through book-reading in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU). This study investigated the possible advantages of book-reading to preterm neonates during their NICU stay on their subsequent language development. 100 families of preterm infants were recruited. The parents of 55 preterm infants (Reading Group) received a colored picture-book on NICU admission and were supported to read to their neonate as often as possible and to continue after hospital discharge. Forty-five infants (Control Group) were recruited before the beginning of the intervention. Infant language development was assessed with the Hearing and Language quotients of the Griffith Mental Development Scale at the corrected ages of 3, 6, 9, 12, 18 and 24 months. Regardless of group membership, Hearing and Language mean quotients decreased between 9 and 18 months; nevertheless, this decrease was considerably reduced in the Reading group, compared to the Control Group. Reading in NICUs represents a suitable intervention that could positively influence language development and parent-infant relationships in preterm children. The study findings support its implementation as a preventive measure.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: book reading intervention, language development, preterm infants, VLBW, longitudinal study, NICU
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Population Health
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2021 10:01
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 21:25
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph182111361
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