Asking parents about babbling at 10 months produced valid answers but did not predict language screening result 2 years later

Acta Paediatr. 2022 Oct;111(10):1914-1920. doi: 10.1111/apa.16486. Epub 2022 Jul 28.


Aim: We evaluated the concurrent and predictive validity of questions to parents of 10-month-old children about babbling.

Methods: Children with at least one native Swedish-speaking parent were eligible for inclusion in this prospective longitudinal study. The parents were asked three questions about babbling at a routine healthcare visit. If parents reported a lack of canonical babbling (CB), children were assessed by a speech and language pathologist to evaluate the questions' concurrent validity. We then examined whether the babbling questions predicted which children would fail the routine language screening at 2.5/3 years.

Results: Fifteen of the 1126 children lacked CB according to the parent responses and the expert assessment confirmed 12 of these cases, providing a concurrent validity of 80%. The sensitivity to predict routine language screening was 8% (95% confidence interval 3-17), and the positive predictive value was 40% (95% confidence interval 20%-65%). However, only six of the children lacking CB at 10 months were among the 71 children who failed later language screening.

Conclusion: This study suggests that the babbling questions could be included in the 10-month surveillance at the child health services as valid measures of babbling development, but they cannot predict language screening result at 2.5/3 years.

Keywords: babbling; language surveillance; open-ended questions; prediction; validity.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Language*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language Development
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Parents
  • Prospective Studies
  • Speech Disorders* / diagnosis

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