BACKGROUND : 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.
METHOD : 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.
RESULTS : 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
CONCLUSION : 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