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South African Journal of Communication Disorders

On-line version ISSN 2225-4765
Print version ISSN 0379-8046


FOUCHE, Lauren C.; KRITZINGER, Alta  and  LE ROUX, Talita. Gestational age and birth weight variations in young children with language impairment at an early communication intervention clinic. S. Afr. J. Commun. Disord. [online]. 2018, vol.65, n.1, pp.1-9. ISSN 2225-4765.

BACKGROUND: South Africa presents with high preterm birth (PTB) and low birth weight (LBW) rates (14.17%). Numerous conditions characterised by language impairment are associated with LBW and/or PTB. Speech-language therapists may fail to identify older children whose language impairment may have originated from LBW and/or PTB. OBJECTIVE: To describe the frequency of LBW and/or PTB, in comparison with full-term birth, and associated conditions in children at an early communication intervention (ECI) clinic. METHODS: Retrospective data of 530 children aged 3-74 months were analysed, with 91.9% presenting with language impairment. RESULTS: Almost 40% had LBW and/or PTB, and late PTB was the largest category. Factors associated with LBW and/or PTB were prenatal risks, including small-for-gestational age, perinatal risks, including caesarean section, and primary developmental conditions. Secondary language impairment was prevalent, associated with genetic conditions and global developmental delay. CONCLUSION: The frequency of LBW and/or PTB was unexpectedly high, drawing attention to the origins of language impairment in almost 40% of the caseload at the ECI clinic.

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