Original Research

Nonspeaking children in schools for children with severe mental disabilities in the greater Pretoria area: Implications for speech-language therapists

Juan Bornman, Erna Alant
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 43, No 1 | a238 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v43i1.238 | © 2019 Juan Bornman, Erna Alant | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 October 2016 | Published: 31 December 1996

About the author(s)

Juan Bornman, Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Erna Alant, Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to describe children enrolled in registered schools for children with severe mental disabilities in the greater Pretoria area in order to compile a profile of nonspeaking children. Emphasis was placed on the prevalence of nonspeaking children as well as on their functioning in different skill areas in order to assess the need for service delivery. Two questionnaires were developed; the first for obtaining biographical data from teachers; the second for obtaining information on the communication and related abilities of children between 3-12 years. The particular teachers completed the questionnaires in conjunction with fieldworkers. Results indicated a high prevalence (38%) of nonspeaking children in schools for children with severe mental disabilities in the Pretoria area and also indicated that they were a heterogeneous group regarding communication and related abilities. This survey was the first step in determining prevalence and describing nonspeaking children in schools for children with severe mental disabilities in South Africa. Results also indicated that these children are in great need of additional service delivery with special reference to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategy implementation.

Keywords

augmentative and alternative communication; nonspeaking children; service delivery; prevalence

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