Communicative Develop​​​ment Inventories​South African CDI logo

​​Development of CDIs for all South African languages​​

Our flagship project is the collaborative development of Communicative Development Inventories (CDIs) for all official South African languages. We have involved organisations across South Africa, including: University of ​​Cape Town, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, University of KwaZulu-Natal, North-West University, University of Limpopo, University of the Free State, Sol Plaatje University and the University of Mpumalanga​, and ECD NGOs.

There is a lack of valid and reliable tools to measure typical ​​development and diagnose language delays in African languages. These cannot be developed without establishing the stages of language acquisition. Creating a locally relevant set of tools requires more than just translation of existing English tools.

It is essential that we establish norms for language de​​velopment in early childhood. CDIs are parent report instruments that ask parents/caregivers to report on a child’s use of gestures, words and sentences. CDIs can measure language development from 8 months to 30 months. They are reliable and valid overall indicators of communicative development.

There are CDIs for over 100 languages worldwide. These are used to identify stages in language development and establish national norms. Data from the CDI have formed the basis for developing linguis​​tic and cognitive assessment and diagnostic tools in many countries.

Tools such as CDIs are suitable for cont​exts in which children are not used to clinical testing. Data are elicited in a culturally appropriate manner using information from parents/caregivers.

Collecting information about children involves going out to different communities and working with local ECD practitioners and their children’s caregivers to gather information on language deve​​​lopment.​

For more information visit the South African CDI website: sa-cdi.org​