Children Ages 3-17 Needed for National Study on Relationship Between Language and Cognition in Language Disorders
Four groups of children are being recruited by Associate Professor Jill Hoover for a national longitudinal study.
Four groups of children are being recruited by language development researcher Jill Hoover for a national longitudinal study to advance the understanding of language and cognition in childhood language disorders.
This study is one of the first to look at language and cognition, specifically executive functions, over a two-year window of development in preschool and school-age children while also making comparisons across clinical groups. “We hope this study sheds light on the ways in which language relates to cognitive skills that are foundational to academic achievement,” Hoover says.
Hoover, an associate professor of speech, language and hearing sciences, is recruiting children from several age groups and clinical populations:
- Children with neurotypical development, ages 3 to 6 years old, with no known history of speech, hearing or language impairments;
- Children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD), ages 4 to 8 years old;
- Boys with fragile X syndrome, ages 9 to 17 years old, who speak in at least two- or three-word phrases;
- Children with Down syndrome, ages 9 to 17 years old, who speak in at least two- to three-word phrases.
Children with DLD or neurotypical development from around Massachusetts may participate. If driving more than 10 miles to Amherst, families will be reimbursed for mileage.
Qualifying children with fragile X syndrome or Down syndrome from across the country may participate, and funds are available to pay families’ expenses to travel to UMass Amherst or the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the two sites where the study is being conducted.
Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited form of intellectual disability, and affected males have significant language impairments.
Children with Down syndrome, the most common chromosomal condition diagnosed in the U.S., have a range of abilities and are typically slower to speak than neurotypical children.
The research is supported by a five-year, $2.4-million grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, split evenly between UMass Amherst, where Hoover is the principal investigator, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where the principal investigator is associate professor Audra Sterling.
Interested parents may fill out a form on Hoover’s Sounds2Syntax Lab website, or email her lab at s2slab [at] umass [dot] edu (s2slab[at]umass[dot]edu). You can also follow the Sound2Syntax Lab on Instagram at s2slabumass or on Facebook at Sounds2Syntax Lab at UMass Amherst.