How we speak to children could make a difference
Tuesday, 1 August 2017
Adelaide families are being sought to take part in a major study looking at the link between how parents speak with their children and child development.
Called the Language in Little Ones project, the research aims to understand how the quality and quantity of parent and child talk in the early years impacts on children later in life, beyond just language development.
The study is looking to recruit Adelaide families who will allow their conversations with young children (aged 6 months to 4 years) to be analysed by researchers.
"Our project is based on the concept that exposure to language has a long-term impact on children, not only on the development of their language skills but also more broadly in terms of their cognitive and social skills, and their education," says project leader Dr Sally Brinkman, Adjunct Associate Professor with the University of Adelaide's School of Public Health, and Co-Director of the Fraser Mustard Centre, Telethon Kids Institute.
"Interaction with infants and toddlers may vary from household to household, but we're looking for common links between that interaction and positive outcomes for children.
"The results of our research will help to inform parents about how to improve their child's overall development, giving them a head start in life.
"Our findings will also be key to understanding where we can focus children’s services and policies in areas of need," Associate Professor Brinkman says.
Researchers are interested in hearing from families who have or will have a child born between February and October 2017, come from an English-speaking background, and live within metropolitan Adelaide.
Conversations between children aged 6 months to 4 years and their carers will be recorded through an unobtrusive device. These recordings will be processed by speech recognition software (without researchers having to listen to any of the recordings), which will help researchers to analyse household language patterns.
More information about the study: www.telethonkids.org.au/projects/lilo
This research has been supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Public Health
The University of Adelaide;
Co-Director, Fraser Mustard Centre, Telethon Kids Institute
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Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
The University of Adelaide
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