Research Projects

Speech and Language Delays in Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders in South Africa

A collaborative research project between the Centre for AAC (Project Leader Prof Juan Bornman) and CRADL, Georgia State University, USA (Project Leaders: Proff Mary Ann Romski and Rose Sevcik)

The main aim of the research is to identify and characterize speech and language delays in children with neuro-developmental disorders across language backgrounds in South Africa. The identification of speech and language delays in this group of children will permit us to identify commonalities and differences across languages so that we can implement interventions specific to receptive and expressive language needs and ameliorate the impact of these difficulties on the child’s long-term development and functioning. We will further our understanding of neuro-developmental disorders by specifying how language background influences the child’s growth and development. 

In order to address the main aim, this research will aim to identify and pilot a common set of relevant developmental and language assessment tools (standardized, parental report, and observational) on four cohorts of children, viz Afrikaans, English, Setswana and isiZulu-speaking children.

Child’s Rights Research

The Centre for AAC is currently working in collaboration with colleagues from Jönköping University in Sweden on a project sponsored by the World Health Organization concerning children’s rights in South Africa. Specifically, the project examines whether the rights of children with disabilities in this country are being met in terms of access to basic resources (e.g., food, water) as well as to medicine, specialized supports (e.g., communication boards, eyeglasses), and education. Four different cultural groups have been targeted, Zulu, Xitsonga, English, and Afrikaans, with questions being asked to both the parent participants and to the children with disabilities themselves. Data collection was completed in May 2012. Publications based on this project can be viewed in the Research Outputs for 2013.

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