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Tyler Fitzgerald, 11, is being tested on his verbal skills. Tyler weighed just over two pounds at birth and used to really struggle in school.
He's a quadruplet. His brothers and sister each weighed between two and three pounds at birth.
Andree Fitzgerald/ Parent: "THEY ALL SEEMED TO DO WELL RIGHT IN THE BEGINNING. SO I DID NOT HAVE THAT FEAR THAT THEY WEREN'T GOING TO LIVE. MY BIGGER FEAR WAS, HOW THEY WERE GOING TO DEVELOP AS THEY GREW OLDER."
Up to half of very low birth weight babies have disabilities in the first years of life. But some parents thought as their kids got older they were also getting smarter. So researchers decided to see if it was true.
They followed about 300 very low birth weight babies, including Tyler and his sister, from birth through age eight, testing them regularly.
The findings, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, are amazing. They found that many children who had tested borderline retarded or retarded at age three tested much higher at age eight.
Laura Ment, M.D./ Yale University School of Medicine: "AT AGE EIGHT YEARS, WE FOUND 66 PERCENT OF THE CHILDREN WHO HAD BEEN IN THE BORDERLINE RANGE WERE NOW IN THE NORMAL RANGE AND 49 PERCENT OF THE CHILDREN WHO HAD BEEN IN THE MENTALLY RETARDED RANGE, OR IQs LESS THAN 70, WERE NO LONGER MENTALLY RETARDED."
Tyler's mom says all her kids are doing great in school.
Andree Fitzgerald/ Parent: "I FIND THEM JUST GROWING BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS IN SCHOOL. IT JUST SEEMS TO BE GETTING EASIER AND EASIER FOR THEM."
This news is also encouraging for school districts. That's because educating a child who requires special education services costs, on average, an extra $6,000 per child per year.