The BabyTalk app is a smartphone, tablet and web-enabled app for parents, researchers and practitioners to monitor, assess and promote children’s language development.
Children who enter school with good language skills have better chances in school, better chances of entering higher education, and better economic success in adulthood. Because of this, early years practitioners often use intervention packages designed to help parents provide language-rich environments at home.
However, delivering and monitoring these interventions is difficult. First, it is difficult to communicate effectively with parents, especially parents who do not regularly come into contact with health visitors or use early years services. Second, it is difficult to monitor language growth because children are often too young to take part in clinic-based tests.
The BabyTalk app is a solution to these problems - a smartphone enabled language monitoring and intervention tool. The app solves the communication problem by delivering, directly to parents, information about how to enrich the home environment for language learning. It solves the language monitoring problem by incorporating an online Communicative Development Inventory (CDI); a comprehensive checklist of children’s words and gestures that parents fill in.
Information from the app will be automatically uploaded to a database that, with parental permission, will be accessible to researchers and practitioners. These professionals will be able to monitor the progress of individual children and identify children who may be at risk of language delay.
The app was piloted with a group of 20 parents/ caregivers to test its validity and usability. The findings are being used to inform the ongoing development of the app.
Project Team: Floriana Grasso (Lead), Darren Atherton, Katie Brewin, Caroline Rowland and Andrew Roxburgh
Start Date: April 2015
Duration: 3 years