University of Massachusetts Amherst: Children Being Recruited for National Study on Relationship Between Language and Cognition in Language Disorders


University of Massachusetts Amherst language development researcher Jill Hoover has begun recruiting children for a national study to advance the understanding of language and cognition in childhood language disorders.

Hoover, associate professor of communication disorders in the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, is recruiting children from several age groups and clinical populations:

UMass Amherst associate professor Jill Hoover
Children with DLD and children with typical development around the state can participate. If driving more than 10 miles to Amherst, families will be reimbursed for mileage. Qualifying children with fragile X syndrome from across the country can 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.

This study will be 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 two 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.

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.

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