Early language skill is one of the best predictors of school readiness and academic achievement. Our lab is investigating the processes preschool children use to learn new vocabulary and grammar. How do children weigh competing sources of information when they make predictions about word meaning? What sources of information do children find the most informative? What can error patterns tell us about how children reason about new language?
Early Identification of Language Impairment
Children with language delays are at risk for poor educational attainment. Early identification is essential; the sooner intervention services are provided, the better the child’s chances for developing effective communication and successful language and learning outcomes. But tools for measuring language competence in toddlers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are limited. We are investigating whether dynamic assessment procedures will be better than traditional, static measures at differentiating toddlers with typical, compared with low language ability.
Partnership for Healthy Parenting
Children learn language in the context of social interactions with parents and caregivers. Quality of early interactions may be equally, if not more, important than the quantity of words a child hears for communication and language development. Our Partnership is a collaboration between researchers, clinicians, educators and community organizations. We are working together to support strong attachment relationships, enhance parent-child interaction, and promote positive child development outcomes in high-risk families.
Moving evidence-based treatments from the laboratory to the families who will benefit from them can be a slow and costly process. We are studying research-to-practice partnerships to identify factors that promote effective implementation across unique community settings.