A new study led by University of Leicester psychologist Dr Samantha Johnson hopes to explain why children born very prematurely may struggle with maths.

Image by: Dave Wicks

The study will compare children born more than eight weeks early with children born at full term then look at which areas of maths and numeracy these children find hard.

More than 10,000 babies are born very prematurely every year, with many going on to develop learning disabilities.   Problems with maths are particularly common, but the problems seem to be very specific and cannot be explained by conventional methods such as testing for low IQ.  In is hoped that the study by investigating the nature and causes of premature children's difficulties with maths a better educational provision for premature children can be provided to teachers and families.

The new study, which is backed by children's charity Action Medical Research, is also supported by psychologists from the universities of Loughborough, Nottingham and University College London.