Original Research - Special Collection: Early Childhood Development in Theory and Practice

The effect of a parental mHealth resource on language outcomes in 4- to 5-year-old children

Elizabeth W. Le Roux, Renata Eccles, Shabnam Abdoola, Marien Graham, Jeannie van der Linde
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 12, No 1 | a1026 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v12i1.1026 | © 2022 Elizabeth W. Le Roux, Renata Eccles, Shabnam Abdoola, Marien Graham, Jeannie van der Linde | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 May 2021 | Published: 02 March 2022

About the author(s)

Elizabeth W. Le Roux, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Renata Eccles, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Shabnam Abdoola, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Marien Graham, Department of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Jeannie van der Linde, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The use of mobile health (mHealth) technology is rapidly expanding in healthcare worldwide. mHealth tools may provide parents with access to resources essential for promoting language development.

Aim: The current study aimed to determine how an mHealth parental resource influenced 42 preschool children’s (4.0–5.11 months old) language abilities after a 17-week intervention period.

Setting: Participants were identified from six early childhood development (ECD) centres from a low-income community in Tshwane, South Africa.

Method: A randomised controlled trial (RCT), pre-test post-test research design was employed to determine whether an mHealth parental resource influenced 42 preschool children’s (4.0–5.11 months old) language abilities after a 17-week intervention period. Data were collected using the language subtests of a South African standardised protocol, the Emergent Literacy and Language Assessment Protocol (ELLA).

Results: The parental mHealth application targeting language stimulation did not significantly improve the experimental group’s language outcomes when compared with the control group because most of the parents (n = 27) used the application for less than 20% of the active days.

Conclusion: Providing parents with more support with mobile resources may lead to improved usage of the application.


Keywords

parental resource; mHealth; language development; preschool children; early child development

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