Mandarin and English single word processing studied with functional magnetic resonance imaging.
The cortical organization of language in bilinguals remains disputed. We studied 24 right-handed fluent bilinguals: 15 exposed to both Mandarin and English before the age of 6 years; and nine exposed to Mandarin in early childhood but English only after the age of 12 years. Blood oxygen level-dependent contrast functional magnetic resonance imaging was performed while subjects performed cued word generation in each language. Fixation was the control task. In both languages, activations were present in the prefrontal, temporal, and parietal regions, and the supplementary motor area. Activations in the prefrontal region were compared by (1) locating peak activations and (2) counting the number of voxels that exceeded a statistical threshold. Although there were differences in the magnitude of activation between the pair of languages, no subject showed significant differences in peak-location or hemispheric asymmetry of activations in the prefrontal language areas. Early and late bilinguals showed a similar pattern of overlapping activations. There are no significant differences in the cortical areas activated for both Mandarin and English at the single word level, irrespective of age of acquisition of either language. (+info)
Child outcomes when child care center classes meet recommended standards for quality. NICHD Early Child Care Research Network.
OBJECTIVES: This study assessed outcomes for children when child care centers meet recommended care standards. METHODS: Data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care were used to examine the association between meeting standards for child-staff ratios, group sizes, caregiver training, and caregiver education and children's development at 24 and 36 months of age. RESULTS: There were 5 major findings: (1) most classes observed did not meet all 4 recommended standards (compliance ranged from 10% at 6 months of age to 34% at 36 months of age); (2) linear associations were found between number of standards met and child outcomes, and this was more the case at 36 months than at 24 months of age: (3) there was no evidence of threshold effects; (4) children in classes that met more standards had better school readiness and language comprehension scores as well as fewer behavior problems at 36 months of age; and (5) child outcomes were predicted by child-staff ratio at 24 months and caregiver training and education at 36 months of age. CONCLUSIONS: Outcomes were better when children attended classes that met recommended child-staff ratios and recommended levels of caregiver training and education. (+info)
Maternal thyroid deficiency during pregnancy and subsequent neuropsychological development of the child.
BACKGROUND: When thyroid deficiency occurs simultaneously in a pregnant woman and her fetus, the child's neuropsychological development is adversely affected. Whether developmental problems occur when only the mother has hypothyroidism during pregnancy is not known. METHODS: In 1996 and 1997, we measured thyrotropin in stored serum samples collected from 25,216 pregnant women between January 1987 and March 1990. We then located 47 women with serum thyrotropin concentrations at or above the 99.7th percentile of the values for all the pregnant women, 15 women with values between the 98th and 99.6th percentiles, inclusive, in combination with low thyroxine levels, and 124 matched women with normal values. Their seven-to-nine-year-old children, none of whom had hypothyroidism as newborns, underwent 15 tests relating to intelligence, attention, language, reading ability, school performance, and visual-motor performance. RESULTS: The children of the 62 women with high serum thyrotropin concentrations performed slightly less well on all 15 tests. Their full-scale IQ scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, third edition, averaged 4 points lower than those of the children of the 124 matched control women (P= 0.06); 15 percent had scores of 85 or less, as compared with 5 percent of the matched control children. Of the 62 women with thyroid deficiency, 48 were not treated for the condition during the pregnancy under study. The full-scale IQ scores of their children averaged 7 points lower than those of the 124 matched control children (P=0.005); 19 percent had scores of 85 or less. Eleven years after the pregnancy under study, 64 percent of the untreated women and 4 percent of the matched control women had confirmed hypothyroidism. CONCLUSIONS: Undiagnosed hypothyroidism in pregnant women may adversely affect their fetuses; therefore, screening for thyroid deficiency during pregnancy may be warranted. (+info)
Effect of early or delayed insertion of tympanostomy tubes for persistent otitis media on developmental outcomes at the age of three years.
BACKGROUND: A main indication for the insertion of tympanostomy tubes in infants and young children is persistent otitis media with effusion, reflecting concern that this condition may cause lasting impairments of speech, language, cognitive, and psychosocial development. However, evidence of such relations is inconclusive, and evidence is lacking that the insertion of tympanostomy tubes prevents developmental impairment. METHODS: We enrolled 6350 healthy infants from 2 to 61 days of age and evaluated them regularly for middle-ear effusion. Before the age of three years 429 children with persistent effusion were randomly assigned to have tympanostomy tubes inserted either as soon as possible or up to nine months later if effusion persisted. In 402 of these children we assessed speech, language, cognition, and psychosocial development at the age of three years. RESULTS: By the age of three years, 169 children in the early-treatment group (82 percent) and 66 children in the late-treatment group (34 percent) had received tympanostomy tubes. There were no significant differences between the early-treatment group and the late-treatment group at the age of three years in the mean (+/-SD) scores on the Number of Different Words test, a measure of word diversity (124+/-32 and 126+/-30, respectively); the Percentage of Consonants Correct-Revised test, a measure of speech-sound production (85+/-7 vs. 86+/-7); the General Cognitive Index of McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities (99+/-14 vs. 101+/-13); or on measures of receptive language, sentence length, grammatical complexity, parent-child stress, and behavior. CONCLUSIONS: In children younger than three years of age who have persistent otitis media, prompt insertion of tympanostomy tubes does not measurably improve developmental outcomes at the age of three years. (+info)
Signing and lexical development in children with Down syndrome.
Language development in children with Down syndrome is delayed, on average, relative to general cognitive, motor and social development, and there is also evidence for specific delays in morphology and syntax, with many adults showing persistent problems in these areas. It appears that the combined use of signed and spoken input can boost early language development significantly, this evidence coming initially from single case-studies, and more recently from larger scale controlled studies. Research with typically developing hearing and deaf children, as well as children with Down syndrome, has demonstrated the importance of establishing joint attention for vocabulary development. Furthermore, studies carried out with children with Down syndrome indicate that reducing attentional demands may be especially important in scaffolding language development in this group. The use of signing strategies which have been found to facilitate language development in deaf children when signing to children with Down syndrome is discussed, as is the need for further research on this topic and on the importance of joint attention for the use of other augmentative and alternative communication systems, such as graphic symbol and picture systems. (+info)
Exposure to Reach Out and Read and vocabulary outcomes in inner city preschoolers.
To examine the association between exposure to Reach Out and Read and vocabulary outcomes in children, a consecutive sample of 200 parent/child pairs was studied at two inner-city health centers. Children at clinic A were exposed to Reach Out and Read, a clinic-based literacy intervention, for 3 years at the time of the study; children at clinic B were unexposed. Main outcome measures were the "Expressive and Receptive One Word Picture Vocabulary Tests" to measure vocabulary in the children and the "Home Literacy Orientation" scale and "READ" subscale of the STIMQ, to measure book-sharing activities. A total of 200 subjects participated, and the mean age of children was 3.8 years. Demographic characteristics were comparable for both clinics at baseline. Exposed children scored higher on receptive vocabulary (81.5 vs. 74.3; p = 0.005). They also scored higher on both the Home Literacy Orientation scale (4.3 vs. 3.3; p = 0.002) and the STIMQ-READ (12.6 vs. 11.0; p = 0.056). There were no differences in expressive vocabulary scores between the two sites (79.5 vs. 77.5; p = 0.26). In conclusion, we found a positive association between exposure to Reach Out and Read and better receptive vocabulary scores. We also found higher scores for Reach Out and Read-exposed children on measures of home reading activities. (+info)
Methods for characterizing participants' nonmainstream dialect use in child language research.
Three different approaches to the characterization of research participants' nonmainstream dialect use can be found in the literature. They include listener judgment ratings, type-based counts of nonmainstream pattern use, and token-based counts. In this paper, we examined these three approaches, as well as shortcuts to these methods, using language samples from 93 children previously described in J. Oetting and J. McDonald (2001). Nonmainstream dialects represented in the samples included rural Louisiana versions of Southern White English (SWE) and Southern African American English (SAAE). Depending on the method and shortcut used, correct dialect classifications (SWE or SAAE) were made for 88% to 97% of the participants; however, regression algorithms had to be applied to the type- and token-based results to achieve these outcomes. For characterizing the rate at which the participants produced the nonmainstream patterns, the token-based methods were found to be superior to the others, but estimates from all approaches were moderately to highly correlated with each other. When type- and/or token-based methods were used to characterize participants' dialect type and rate, the number of patterns included in the analyses could be substantially reduced without significantly affecting the validity of the outcomes. These findings have important implications for future child language studies that are done within the context of dialect diversity. (+info)
An infant-based assessment of early lexicon acquisition.
The majority of research on the acquisition of spoken language has focused on language production, due to difficulties in the assessment of comprehension. A primary limitation to comprehension assessment is maintaining the interest and attention of younger infants. We have developed an assessment procedure that addresses the need for an extensive performance-based measure of comprehension in the 2nd year of life. In the interest of developing an engaging approach that takes into account infants' limited attention capabilities, we designed an assessment based on touchscreen technology. This approach builds upon prior research by combining standardization and complexity with an engaging infant-friendly interface. Data suggest that the touchscreen procedure is effective in eliciting and maintaining infant attention and will yield more extensive and reliable estimates of early comprehension than do other procedures. The software to implement the assessment is available free of charge for academic purposes. (+info)