Handicaps resulting from premature birth and its associated medical problems. Babies born either very prematurely or who are very ill at birth are at increased risk for brain injury that can result in handicaps. Prematurity and severity of the baby’s illness do not explain all of the disabilities seen in newborn infants. Other factors that occur before delivery, such as maternal hypertension or infection, also contribute to the disabilities seen in prematurely born babies.
Minor disabilities sometimes do not show up until the child is several years old. These disabilities may not be recognized until the child enters school. They include short attention span, specific learning problems isolated to an area of math or reading, and poorer than average hand-eye coordination.