Length of neonatal hospitalization as a predictor of subsequent special education placement

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Keith G. Scott - Committee Chair


This study investigated the relation between length of neonatal hospitalization and a child's subsequent placement in special education. The purpose of the research was to attempt to validate one potential cost-effective mechanism of identifying young children (birth through two) who are at risk of subsequent substantial developmental delay in order to provide services for them under Part H of Public Law 99-457.An historical prospective study was conducted. Two existing databases, a hospital medical records database and a public school system 1988 student database were used. Participating in the study were subjects born between 1974 and 1975 (Cohort 1, n = 234) and 1978 and 1979 (Cohort 2, n = 341). They were stratified by birthweight. The birthweight groups were very low birthweight (VLBW, $\le$1,500 grams), low birthweight (LBW, 1,501 to 2,500 grams), and normal birthweight (NBW, $>$2,500 grams). Pertinent medical, maternal and social information was abstracted from the databases.Statistics demonstrated that the probability of placement in special education increased as birthweight decreased and length of neonatal hospital stay increased. Overall, infants born at Jackson Memorial Hospital have a 21% probability of having subsequent educational exceptionalities and as their birthweight decreases this probability increases. Children born VLBW have a 31% probability of being placed in special education classes at 9 through 14 years of age. This increases to 39% for those who have protracted hospital stays of 50 days or more.


Education, Special; Psychology, Developmental; Psychology, Clinical

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