Developmental Risks in Vulnerable Children from a Low-Income South African Community

Maria N. du Toit, Jeannie van der Linde, De Wet Swanepoel

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Objective: To describe the developmental risks, and its influence, in young children from a low-income South African community. Method: An exploratory, cross-sectional research study design was employed. Developmental screening was conducted during home visits with 126 caregivers and children between 0 and 42 months of age from a low-income South African community. Children who failed the rescreen were referred for diagnostic assessment. A binomial logistic regression was used to determine the effect of developmental risks on developmental outcomes. Results: Seventy-three percent of children screened were identified with a possible developmental delay (n = 59) according to caregiver-report using the PEDS tools. The regression model was statistically significant (χ2 (3) = 34.902, p < 0.001) with exposure to multiple languages (p < 0.05; odds ratio 3.810, CI 1.2–12.4) most indicative of potential developmental delay. Older children (19–42 months) were also more at risk of developmental delay (p < 0.001) than younger children (0–18 months). Conclusions for Practice: Healthcare professionals serving these vulnerable populations should create awareness amongst caregivers about the effect of developmental risks, in particularly multiple language exposure, on development.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jan 2021


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