Early Intervention and Stimulation of the Hospitalized Preterm Infant

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Physical Therapy


Controversies exist over what is appropriate stimulation for the hospitalized preterm infant and how it should be administered. One approach advocates the provision of additional and isolated sensory stimulation, while another approach advocates the detailed assessment of the infant's functioning in the extrauterine environment as a baseline for highly individualized intervention. This review shows that extensive research has been conducted in support of both approaches. Sensory stimulations have been shown to have an impact on the development of preterm infants. However, an understanding of the infant's level of functioning in the extrauterine environment provides the context within which stimulations can be applied.