No longer consider preemie?

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No longer consider preemie?

Postby Jamm » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:38 am

I couldn't think of a good title which would really explain the situation I am facing.

This has to do with my 6yr old DD. She was born August 28th at 32 weeks. My actual due date ranged between October 26th and 31st never got an exact date.

I guess my question is when do you stop considering them to be a preemie? Or when do you stop using the due date as a date and use their birthday?

The situation is my daughter is in 1st grade. Had she been born on time she would be in kindergarten the cut off in the district we were in when she started is Sept.1st(Massachusetts). She went to kindergarten at 5 and is now in 1st and having so many problems! She is on the list for retention for next year and I couldn't be happier but then I feel bad for not considering her due date. At 5 I didn't think the difference between 8 weeks was a big deal anymore. She has no learning disabilities at all she is just a bit immature for her age. I don't mean socially I mean brain wise. Her teacher noticed she just doesn't have the long term memory retrieval yet that normally develops around kindergarten. Education wise with all the help they are giving her at school and we are at home she is upper kindergarten level. She is really struggling in 1st grade and when I said I couldn't be happier for her retention its because it is so hard to see her struggle! She is the size of everyone else in kindergarten so I know she won't feel like the big kid next year and she will be 7 already when they start but everyone else will be turning 7 that year with her. Now she is the youngest in her class. I think it will be great for her to repeat the grade and I think she will understand more. Had she been full term she would only be in kindergarten now and would be where she needs to be education wise.

My question is now what to do with my twins? The cut-off for the school district we now live in is 5 by October 1st(virginia). They were born September 7th so they will be 5 by the cut off but their due date was October 21st. So again had they been born on time they wouldn't be starting. Now I am debating as to weather or not to send them the year they turn 5 or wait a year?

Ah the life of having preemies!! I always thought we were over the considering of the due date but I do realize now that there are possibly many areas where a being premature may be a factor. Hopefully this made sense to everyone :D
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Postby lousli » Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:10 pm

I think that if they are a later term preemie with no learning or developmental delays, that you don't really take into consideration their prematurity anymore by about age 2 or 3. For example, my daughter is 6 as well and she is the size of a 4 year old. I am extremely petite, just 5' tall and when not pregnant fairly slim, so at this point we just consider her size to be taking after me genetically and not because of her prematurity.

I think in your daughter's case, her maturity level is probably more noticeable as she is the youngest child in her class. I teach children from 1st-3rd grade in my classroom, and 6 months difference can be pretty striking (so the child that starts at 5 yrs 9 months vs. the child that starts at 6 yrs 3 months.) It also can just be a function of her personality. Children mature at different rates.

My two girls were both early (4 weeks and 7 weeks) and their personalities are vastly different. So much so that we had the choice with each of them (because I work in a private school) about when to move them into first grade. My older dd has a November birthday, my younger one has a December birthday. We knew my older one would be ready for first grade the year she was 5, almost 6, even though she wasn't yet really strong academically. She is now the youngest 4th grader at the school, but doing very well. My younger daughter will be starting first grade at 6, almost 7, and for her, it was the right choice. She is academically much stronger than her sister was at this age, but she needed that extra time for her social development.
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Postby Jamm » Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:28 pm

Thank you so much for your insight! I completely agree with you. She is a very shy little girl and very un-confident in her work even with the stuff she knows. She just doesn't like to participate if there is any chance she is wrong. I also believe with everything being way over her head she gets herself distracted easily now. We don't have any behavioral issues with her the only request from the teacher was to try and encourage her to participate more. She is tiny too but I think that is also her genetics. My mil is 5 even, my sil is 5 as well. A few females on my side of the family are between 4'11" and 5'3". She is proportionate just a tiny little peanut!
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Postby MK13 » Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:05 pm

I'll be facing something like that with DS1 as well. His due date was in September but he was born at 36w 6d on August 15th. Had he been born on his due date, he'd be the oldest in his class but being born August 15th will make him one of the youngest ones if not THE youngest. We will see how mature he will be but it is very likely we will have him wait another year. I do not see this being an issue with prematurity at birth but rather just a simple "math" thing. Almost all of his classmates would be older than him some by couple weeks but some by almost a year and that's a huge difference ... it's 1/6th of their lifetime! Unless there's a financial reason or something like that why you would need your children to be ahead, I'd wait. At least by the time they will be finishing high school they will be more likely to have an idea of what to do with their life. I see it with my step son. He's 17 (turned 17 in September) and am I glad he wasn't born in August ... because that would had meant he'd be graduating high school in 3 months and he's nowhere near mature enough to live on his own like any adult. He's still a kid. He has matured a lot this year and I can see him do just fine next year as a senior but this year would had been still too early for him. My sister's son ... also 17 was born July 31st ... they held him back that one year (this was in Czech Republic) and I'm sure they are very happy they did that. He's still very small and he would look like a little kid compared to the "big kids" if he was in the grade he was supposed to go to. This way he's very happy and there are no issues what so ever. If eventually you see they are getting ahead of their classes, you can always look into homeschooling or skipping a grade but I wouldn't make them be the youngest ones (and the ones all the bullies concentrate on ... aside from everything else).

... ok, sorry for the long rant :lol:
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Postby Jamm » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:47 pm

Thank you so much for you input as well! I was concerned posting the topic in here because she isn't a preemie as in a baby still. But I am so glad I did! She is the youngest in her class still and she is 6 while everyone is 7 and she stays six unlike everyone else turning 7 that year....hopefully that makes sense :lol:

I am very glad she is going to be held back as of right now, we still have a meeting with a social worker, a psychologist, her teacher, the principal and the head of the reading department. Its just to make sure its being done with her best intentions and no one elses agenda is coming first. I am alot more confident in our joint decision (my DH, myself, her teacher, and her principal) that she is going to be fine with being held back after hearing your storys as well. If she all the sudden does start getting to where she needs to be the final decision isn't until may as the school year ends in June and we can always say no we think she is ready. It's just so hard watching your child struggle and thinking if you just waited 1 year she may not have been. Thank you for taking the time to give me input and please if anyone has anything more to say by all means I am open to everything!
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Postby nauticaboo » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:54 am

Not the exact same situation, but Desi was born 3 months early. Back in September when she was 17 months, but only 14 months adjusted, I had to make the decision whether to enroll her in the 12-16 month class (which would've fit her adjusted age) or the 16-22 month class (for her actual age). In the end, I decided to go by her actual age. The director (who actually had preemie twins), suggested the actual age class, because eventually she's not going to be considered preemie and will be evaluated against actual age peers, and by being in the older class she would be "motivated" to be on their level, if that makes sense.

Here, the "catch up" age is 2, regardless of level of prematurity. Desi is finally evaluating at adjusted age for gross motor skills, but in about 6 weeks when she has her 2 year assessment, she will be "expected" to perform like a 24 month old - which means she is supposed to jump 5 months developmentally, in 6 weeks! So by putting her in adjusted age classes, I kind of feel like I would be doing her a "disservice", since she is going to be expected to perform according to her actual age.

My personal opinion, especially with the cutoff, is that if they make the cutoff according to actual age, then enroll them. The worst case scenario is that they aren't ready, and then you can pull them out until the next year, or they can repeat. But you might be surprised, and the peer influences might encourage them to do better. Eventually they are going to catch up, and it's much harder (almost impossible these days) to skip a grade than it is to hold someone back, so also take that into consideration. FWIW, I skipped second grade, so I was always the youngest person in my class growing up (and I was/am still very shy), and it didn't negatively affect me at all - I still graduated at the top of my class - so don't let size/age/shyness be the main determining factor. Ultimately though, I think it depends on a number of things, and if your child is receiving EI services (I only skimmed through the replies), then it is best to collaborate with them to figure out what is best for your child.
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Postby mom2abandkb » Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:06 pm

That is a very tough decision that I know I will be faced with in a few years.

My first was born 8/18/03 and the cutoff is 9/1. She was also full term, but will always be the youngest in her class and in K and 1st her social immaturity really showed and the teachers already started labeling her ADD and I wasn't going to accept that BS, high energy is not ADD and she was socially young. Now in 2nd grade, age 7 she seems to be finally "catching" up socially, but not all the way yet, but her mind is miles ahead! So this year she could test for gifted and talented but I wouldn't know what to do with her energy level and slight social immaturity.

My 2nd was born 8/17/09, but 10 weeks early. At 18 months she is on the chart for height, weight, and head size unadjusted for the first time ever. But, she hardly says 3 words and signs 2 words. She has therapy up the wazoo, but who knows if by pre school age she will be "caught" up in all ways. She walked just a little bit late, already has astigmatism and nearsightedness and will need surgery for her right eye ptosis. Most likely she will start school a year later and still may not be caught up and will still need more assistance that THANK GOD the state run program, her coordinator already told me and that makes me feel tons better.
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Postby Lita74 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:46 pm

My ped told me to stop considering their preemie age at 2. That being said...

I am the mom of 6 wk early preemie twins, and a special ed teacher. One thing I have noticed over the years is often the students who are flagged are the children who are the youngest in their classes. When you think about it, some students are almost one year older in their classes, and at this age, that is developmentally huge. I personally would go based on their preemie bday with regard to schooling if it is in their benefit. Good luck!!
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Postby MandyD » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:54 am

I am replying not as a mother of preemies, but as a elem ed teacher in Texas, where the cut off is Sept 1. Of course it is always up to the parents, but when asked my advice is... I would rather my child be the oldest in the class rather than the youngest. You always have to look at the big picture. How this will effect you kids once they get to jr high and high school, sports wise, dating wise. Do you want them to always to be the youngest or the oldest. (Sorry, I come from a small town in Texas, you see where our priorities lie, Friday Night Lights was based off of some truth!) But seriously, for so many reasons, I would rather my boys or especially if I had a girl to be one of the oldest in their class rather than the youngest!

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Postby irishsweetie2003 » Thu May 05, 2011 8:40 am

The rule of thumb is that they stop "adjusting their age around the age of 2 years. With my first twopreemies, they fallowed them untill they were in school and even after because they had sensory delays (5 1/2 weeks early and a 10 1/2week early baby). My thrid (11 1/2 weeks premature), they stoped adjusting him by 9 months because he had already caught up. My youngest is a girl and she's a little more petite... So we're still fallowing here and she's 7 month old (born 11 weeks premature). It varies based off their needs and any developmental delays...
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