Praat Afrikaans! The quest for finding 50 Afrikaans-speaking children between 2 and 5 years of age

Posted on October 25, 2013

The CAAC Team consisting of Prof. Juan Bornman, Prof. Kitty Uys, Dr  Alecia Samuels and Ms Ensa Johnson recently flew down to Cape Town for a week from the 14th – 18th October and administered the translated Afrikaans Mullen Scales of Early learning. They were joined by former masters in AAC student, Ms. Sonja Higham, and a research assistant, Ms.Jodine Smith.

They started the week at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in Cape Town where they tested 18 Afrikaans-speaking children. The speech-language therapists at Red Cross, under the guidance of the head therapist, Ms. Lezanne le Roux who provided invaluable support! They arranged the individual sessions, planned the time slots, shared office space and arranged for additional venues where undisturbed assessment could be done. A word of appreciation also goes to the Chairperson of the Hospital Research Review Committee, Dr. Blake for providing consent for working in the hospital. What a vibrant enthusiastic team in a caring, well-run hospital – thank you to all!

Next stop – Stellenbosch.  Mr Wilfren Pietersen, the chairman of the Board at the Jessie Keet Nursery School provided consent for the testing of the 2 – 5 year olds. Mrs. Felicity Thomas, the principal, and her team of dedicated, loving teachers, did a sterling job in accommodating the team. They made a classroom available for the assessments, and Mrs. Thomas contacted all the parents, carefully explaining what the purpose of the research was. This resulted in 49 Afrikaans-speaking children being assessed!  Thank you so much for all of your assistance and enthusiasm in supporting us. It was a delight to work with such a great school and lovely children.

Finally, a word of thanks is extended to all the children who participated and their parents who consented – thank you for reminding us of what matters most - you are the reason why we keep on doing what we love to do! Baie dankie.

This data brings us one step closer in identifying similarities and differences across languages so that we can implement specific language interventions that will have a positive impact on children’s long-term development and functioning. So watch this space – we now have data sets on Afrikaans -, isiZulu-, and Setswana-speaking children.  Can you guess who’s next??

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