oa African Journal of Disability - Early detection of communication delays with the PEDS tools in at-risk South African infants : original research

Volume 5 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2223-9170
  • E-ISSN: 2226-7220



Prevalence of communication delays or disorders is increasing, possibly because of various environmental risk factors. Selection and implementation of effective screening tools are important to detect at-risk infants as early as possible. This study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of the Parents' Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS), PEDS-Developmental Milestones and PEDS tools to detect communication delays in infants (6-12 months) in a South African primary healthcare context.

A comparative study design evaluated the accuracy of the PEDS tools to detect communication delays, using an internationally accepted diagnostic assessment tool, the Rossetti Infant-Toddler Language Scale (RITLS). A convenience sample of 201 infants was selected at primary healthcare clinics.
Expressive and receptive language sensitivity scores were low across all three screens (ranging between 14% and 44%). The PEDS tools had high sensitivity (71%) and specificity (73%) ratings for the receptive and expressive language and socio-emotional domain in combination.
In the sample population, the PEDS tools did not accurately detect receptive and expressive language delays; however, communication delays in general were identified. Future research determining accuracy of the PEDS, PEDS-Developmental Milestones and PEDS tools for children aged 2-5 years in detecting communication delays should be prioritised.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error