Vocalisation Repertoire at the End of the First Year of Life: An Exploratory Comparison of Rett Syndrome and Typical Development

Katrin D. Bartl-Pokorny, Florian B. Pokorny, Dunia Garrido, Björn W. Schuller, Dajie Zhang, Peter B. Marschik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Rett syndrome (RTT) is a rare, late detected developmental disorder associated with severe deficits in the speech-language domain. Despite a few reports about atypicalities in the speech-language development of infants and toddlers with RTT, a detailed analysis of the pre-linguistic vocalisation repertoire of infants with RTT is yet missing. Based on home video recordings, we analysed the vocalisations between 9 and 11 months of age of three female infants with typical RTT and compared them to three age-matched typically developing (TD) female controls. The video material of the infants had a total duration of 424 min with 1655 infant vocalisations. For each month, we (1) calculated the infants’ canonical babbling ratios with CBRUTTER, i.e., the ratio of number of utterances containing canonical syllables to total number of utterances, and (2) classified their pre-linguistic vocalisations in three non-canonical and four canonical vocalisation subtypes. All infants achieved the milestone of canonical babbling at 9 months of age according to their canonical babbling ratios, i.e. CBRUTTER ≥ 0.15. We revealed overall lower CBRsUTTER and a lower proportion of canonical pre-linguistic vocalisations consisting of well-formed sounds that could serve as parts of target-language words for the RTT group compared to the TD group. Further studies with more data from individuals with RTT are needed to study the atypicalities in the pre-linguistic vocalisation repertoire which may portend the later deficits in spoken language that are characteristic features of RTT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1069
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Canonical babbling
  • Early vocalisations
  • Infant
  • Late detected developmental disorders
  • Rett syndrome
  • Speech-language impairment


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