Aim: To study if a specific cognitive profile can be identified for children born extremely preterm (EPT) by investigating: 1) strengths and weaknesses not revealed by Full-Scale IQ, 2) overlap between different cognitive deficits and 3) proportion of EPT children with multiple deficits.
Methods: We analyzed data from the 4th version of Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children in EPT children (n=359) and matched controls (n=367), collected within the 6.5-year follow-up of a population-based prospective cohort study.
Results: EPT children performed worse than controls on all measures. Group differences were the largest in perceptual reasoning (PRI) and working memory (WMI), but differences between indices were small. However, when conducting categorical analyses, deficits in PRI and/or WMI were not more common than other combinations. Many EPT children had no or mild cognitive deficits, although often in multiple domains.
Conclusion: EPT children had greater weaknesses in working memory and perceptual abilities. However, detailed analyses of cognitive subscales showed large heterogeneity, and provided no support for a specific cognitive profile. In conclusion, Full-Scale IQ scores hides strengths and weaknesses and individual profiles for EPT children need to be considered in order to provide appropriate support.