This study evaluated comparatively children born preterm and full-term of five- years-old enrolled in the third level of early childhood school. One of the factors that prevails in this research is that prematurity is a determining factor for the acquisition of motor and emotional skills, this factor may or may not subsequently affect children in the school stage, and that is why we must highlight the following aspects:
Prematurity is a characteristic of children born before 37 weeks of gestation, these children are in a maturation process and this, is interrupted by intrinsic or extrinsic factors inherent in the mother or fetus, this characteristic in several studies shows that preterm children may have lesions at the level of the white matter and/or lack of adequate process of irrigation and oxygenation after the birth, so there are clinical factors that trigger physiological conditions that affect the development of said children, being of high biological risk due to developmental disorders that can trigger.21 As shown in the result of the present study, premature children are at a disadvantage when compared with born full-term, this disadvantage is evidenced by a lower score in the sum of the physical-motor variables. In relation to the body image and body schema, motor dissociation, visual-motor coordination, emotional control and social development, this lower score is evidenced in the school age but also it can persist until adulthood.22
Premature children present high-risk of develop motor problem, being the characteristic of premature cataloged as an inferred biological risk, this risk refers to those children who, due to pre or post-natal organic causes, may present a transient interference that could affect their development, introducing prematurity as one of these risk causes.23 Very premature newborns have a particularly high risk of suffering a significant variety of neurodevelopmental disorders, including cerebral palsy (CP), sensory, cognitive and behavioral disabilities. This is why doctors, teachers and relatives must observe the child in the evolutionary stages, monitoring their motor, socio-emotional and cognitive development.
When children with a possible psychomotor retardation are observed, it is necessary to activate referral mechanisms to provide them with early intervention. Motor development is a set of processes associated with the practice and experiences of the infant.24 The child has innate motor skills after birth and as he relates to the context, develops new skills. His goal is to develop continuously skills based on the control of his body, until he can express itself through movement being this a continuous process, unless an alteration occurs. Said alteration will be evident at this stage, when the child face difficulties in developing skills used according to the age of reference. Therefore, it is necessary to highlight the relevance of early intervention programs.25 Early childhood education is important in the detection of special educational needs or alterations in the child's development. In most of the cases the teachers are those who detect some of the difficulties in the development of the children by doing a deep assessment in the classroom.26
The teacher is who constantly observes children development in the classroom, and it is through this process of observation that some alteration in their development can be identified. In case of observation of alterations in the child's development of motor skills, these alterations should be communicated to the psych-pedagogue, who will refer the child and his family to early intervention programs and pediatric centers. Prevention at this age is important since the educational rehabilitation of the alterations is more effective due to the brain plasticity.27 Early intervention stimulates the learning processes that will help in the prevention of difficulties and improve the development of children with disabilities or with high risk of having them.28 The child must be seen from his individuality and attend to his needs, by accompanying him in his maturity process. The teacher and the pediatrician become observers of this process together with the family, preventing with their practice and actions any difficulties that children may face.29 That is why the present study is done completing a checklist where the observer / evaluator is the classroom teacher. The body image and body schema are motor aspects linked to the perception directly related to the emotional development of children and how they interact with their context, other studies indicate that preterm children have a psychomotor development at risk /delayed, and being the motor aspect the most affected that can lead to schooling problems. Factors that in the current study coincide with the above, low scoring for children born preterm.
Deficiency in motor dissociation and visual-motor coordination are closely related to learning disorders, incompetence in perceptual-motor coordination, clumsiness in manual writing (in the first grades) and difficulties in mathematics.30
Some studies determine that children born preterm have behavioral and attention problems during psychopathological evaluation.31 In the current study, children born preterm show deficiencies in emotional control and in general in all social aspects, which may be related to their motor immaturity and deficiency in body perception.32 Premature children suffer various processes at birth depending on their medical condition, the degree of immaturity and early separation by the mother (in short or very long periods), anxiety states may occur.
It should be noted that the main contribution of this study is the identification of the psycho-motor development variables that may be affected in children born preterm when compared to children born full-term at the same age, with the application of the recently developed instrument the CPA. Through the use of the CPA, most of the variables that have been considered in different theoretical models can be evaluated, in addition, being an instrument designed to be used by teachers, it becomes a powerful tool to establish protocols for preventive purposes in children with high motor risk (specifically focused on the variables of visual-motor coordination, motor dissociation and strengthening of the body schema).
It is also essential to strengthen educational programs in the field of emotional control to improve the overall development of children born preterm. In summary, the results of this study allow professionals to design and evaluate the intervention programs aimed to improve procedures for overcome specific deficits identified in children born preterm.33 As children improve their CPA results, their performance scores are also expected to improve.
Another important contribution of this study is the provision of psychometric data obtained from children born preterm and full term obtained from the comparative study, as well as the age of the selected sample (five-years-old), since most of the research conducted were with children at very early ages (between zero and three-years-old), taking into account the physical-motor aspect and the fact of being healthy children and without severe motor consequences. The aspect measured on this study show how they affect in a lesser or greater degree those aspects related to motor perception and the fundamental emotional aspects present in the acquisition and development of the cognitive processes typical of the primary education stage such as the acquisition of basic core subjects,34 and the development of socio-emotional elements that evidences their immaturity in relation to their motor perception, as well as the detachment that preterm children face when they are separated from their parents while they are in incubators and the consequences evidenced in the present study, all of them vital factors, highlighting the fact that prevention against this condition or characteristic of born preterm is key.35 Indeed, the data presented in this research related to the development of motor skills, in children born preterm educational mediation is matter of prevention since risk factors are present and in most cases consequences can occur if an educational intervention is not carried out.