Original Research

Gestational age and birth weight variations in young children with language impairment at an early communication intervention clinic

Lauren C. Fouché, Alta Kritzinger, Talita le Roux
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 65, No 1 | a584 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v65i1.584 | © 2018 Lauren C. Fouche, Alta Kritzinger, Talita Le Roux | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 October 2017 | Published: 17 September 2018

About the author(s)

Lauren C. Fouché, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Alta Kritzinger, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Talita le Roux, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

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.


Keywords

preterm birth; language impairment; early communication intervention; low birth weight; associated conditions

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