Toward preventing speech and language disorders of known genetic origin: First post-intervention results of babble boot camp in children with classic galactosemia

Beate Peter, Jennifer Davis, Sarah Cotter, Alicia Belter, Emma Williams, Melissa Stumpf, Laurel Bruce, Linda Eng, Yookyung Kim, Lizbeth Finestack, Carol Stoel-Gammon, Delaney Williams, Nancy Scherer, Mark Vandam, Nancy Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Babble Boot Camp (BBC) is a package of proactive activities and routines designed to prevent speech and language disorders in infants at predictable risk. It is implemented via parent training and currently undergoing clinical trial in children with a newborn diagnosis of classic galactosemia (CG), a metabolic disease with high risk of speech and language disorders. The purpose of this study is to provide updates to a previous pilot study and to present the first set of post-intervention results. Method: The intervention and data collection occurred during child ages < 6–24 months, with follow-up assessments of speech and language at ages 2.5 and 3.5 years. Treatment targets included earliest vocalization rates, babble complexity, speech production accuracy, and vocabulary and syntactic growth. The oldest 15 children with CG (including three untreated controls) completed the first set of follow-up assessments. Aggregate data up to 10 months were available for 17 treated children with CG, six untreated children with CG, and six typical controls. Results: At ages 7–9 months, babbling complexity, as measured with mean babbling level, was higher in the treated children with CG than in the untreated children with CG and the typical controls. Prior to 24 months of age, the treated children with CG had greater expressive but not receptive vocabulary sizes than an untreated control. Follow-up testing showed typical language scores for all 12 treated children with CG and typical articulation scores for 11 of these, whereas one of three untreated children with CG had low articulation and expressive language scores. Conclusions: The BBC appears to be a viable intervention to support the speech and expressive language development of children with GC. Future studies will evaluate the relative contributions of the earliest and later BBC components to outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2616-2634
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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