Original Research

Communication skills of biologically at-risk neonates

Alta Kritzinger, Brenda Louw, René Hugo
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 42, No 1 | a243 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v42i1.243 | © 2019 Alta Kritzinger | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 October 2016 | Published: 31 December 1995

About the author(s)

Alta Kritzinger, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Brenda Louw, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
René Hugo, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Early communication intervention has advanced to include neonatal assessment and management. Currently, however, there are limited diagnostic tools developed from a speech-language pathology and audiology perspective. The purpose of the study was to design a comprehensive neonatal communication assessment protocol and use it to describe the communication skills of 50 biologically at-risk neonates (852g-3060g birthweight). The results indicated that the subjects' general development was within normal limits, but their communication abilities displayed a serious delay. A high risk register consisting of 13 factors predicting the subjects' communication abilities was compiled. The length of time before the subjects could successfully take bottle feeds was found to be the strongest predictor of their communication development. The study is of particular relevance to the present South African context which has an increased incidence of low birth weight, thus rendering an enlarged population of biologically at-risk neonates.


neonatal communication assessment; biologically at-risk neonates; high risk register for communication development


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Crossref Citations

1. Caregiver Education as a Prevention Strategy for Communication Disorders in South Africa
Elsa Popich, Brenda Louw, Irma Eloff
Infants & Young Children  vol: 20  issue: 1  first page: 64  year: 2007  
doi: 10.1097/00001163-200701000-00007