Language assessment for children with a range of neurodevelopmental disorders across four languages in South Africa

26 Jun 2018

PURPOSE : The purpose of this study is (a) to examine the applicability of a culturally and linguistically adapted measure to assess the receptive and expressive language skills of children with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) in South Africa and then (b) to explore the contributions of 2 additional language measures. METHOD : In Part 1, 100 children with NDD who spoke Afrikaans, isiZulu, Setswana, or South African English were assessed on the culturally and linguistically adapted Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL). Clinicians independently rated the children's language skills on a 3-point scale. In Part 2, the final 20 children to be recruited participated in a caregiver-led interaction, after which the caregiver completed a rating scale about their perceptions of their children's language. RESULTS : Performance on the MSEL was consistent with clinician-rated child language skills. The 2 additional measures confirmed and enriched the description of the child's performance on the MSEL. CONCLUSIONS : The translated MSEL and the supplemental measures successfully characterize the language profiles and related skills in children with NDD in multilingual South Africa. Together, these assessment tools can serve a valuable function in guiding the choice of intervention and also may serve as a way to monitor progress.