Clinical Application of the Mean Babbling Level and Syllable Structure Level Purpose This clinical exchange reviews two independent phonological assessment measures: mean babbling level (MBL) and syllable structure level (SSL). Both measures summarize phonetic inventory and syllable shape in a calculated average and have been used in research to describe the phonological abilities of children ages 9 to 36 months. An ... Clinical Exchange
Clinical Exchange  |   April 01, 2010
Clinical Application of the Mean Babbling Level and Syllable Structure Level
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sherrill R. Morris
    Northern Illinois University, DeKalb
  • Contact author: Sherrill R. Morris, School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115. E-mail: srmorris@niu.edu.
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody
Clinical Exchange   |   April 01, 2010
Clinical Application of the Mean Babbling Level and Syllable Structure Level
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2010, Vol. 41, 223-230. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0076)
History: Received July 8, 2008 , Accepted January 25, 2009
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2010, Vol. 41, 223-230. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0076)
History: Received July 8, 2008; Accepted January 25, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4

Purpose This clinical exchange reviews two independent phonological assessment measures: mean babbling level (MBL) and syllable structure level (SSL). Both measures summarize phonetic inventory and syllable shape in a calculated average and have been used in research to describe the phonological abilities of children ages 9 to 36 months. An example of the measures' clinical use is presented.

Method Six studies reporting MBL and SSL were reviewed. Combined, the studies included 207 participants. One hundred twenty-eight of those were developing language as expected, and 79 were identified as having speech-language impairment.

Conclusion Overall, the studies indicate that SSL is a reliable measure that increases as children develop. Children with language impairment exhibit lower SSL scores than children with typical language skills. Further, a lower than expected MBL is predictive of a lack of meaningful speech at 24 months of age.

Implication MBL and SSL have clinical application in terms of initial evaluation as well as progress monitoring. Recommendations for standardized corpus inclusion procedures are presented.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
I am grateful for the assistance of Pamela Hadley during all phases of this project.
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