Health Center of Sarajevo Canton, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
University of Sarajevo, Department of special education, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Background: Preterm born children are at an increased risk for having cognitive and motor impairments at preschool age. In addition to this, children born preterm have a number of deficits in executive functioning. Although there are numerous studies examining executive functions (EF) in preterm born children, few used ecologically valid measures of EF. The goal of the present study was to examine EF in preschool children born preterm. Materials and Methods: The sample for this study consisted of 40 preschool children aged 5 – 6 years old born preterm, both sexes (21 boys, 19 girls). EFs were measured with Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function- Preschool Version, an ecologically valid instrument for EF assessment. Results: The results of this study revealed that the greatest EF deficits were in the area of emotional control and working memory. There were no gender differences in EF except for the domain of emotional control, with boys having larger deficits. Conclusion: Given the high rate of EF deficits in preschool children born preterm, it is of utmost importance to provide them with adequate therapeutic modalities early in preschool period. Pediatricians, psychologists and early education specialists should work together in identifying the potential EF problems in preterm born preschool children and in making the programs for ameliorating EF deficits.