‘I Spy’ Used to Show Spoken Language Helps Direct Children’s Eyes

[Source:  Science Daily]

girlpointing

Children spot objects more quickly when prompted by words than if they are only prompted by images, cognitive scientists have demonstrated.  Spoken language taps into children’s cognitive system, enhancing their ability to learn and to navigate cluttered environments. As such the study opens up new avenues for research into the way language might shape the course of developmental disabilities such as ADHD, difficulties with school, and other attention-related problems.

In a new study, Indiana University cognitive scientists Catarina Vales and Linda Smith demonstrate that children spot objects more quickly when prompted by words than if they are only prompted by images.

Language, the study suggests, is transformative: More so than images, spoken language taps into children’s cognitive system, enhancing their ability to learn and to navigate cluttered environments. As such the study, published last week in the journal Developmental Science, opens up new avenues for research into the way language might shape the course of developmental disabilities such as ADHD, difficulties with school, and other attention-related problems.

In the experiment, children played a series of “I spy” games, widely used to study attention and memory in adults. Asked to look for one image in a crowded scene on a computer screen, the children were shown a picture of the object they needed to find — a bed, for example, hidden in a group of couches.

“If the name of the target object was also said, the children were much faster at finding it and less distracted by the other objects in the scene,” said Vales, a graduate student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

“What we’ve shown is that in 3-year-old children, words activate memories that then rapidly deploy attention and lead children to find the relevant object in a cluttered array,” said Smith, Chancellor’s Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. “Words call up an idea that is more robust than an image and to which we more rapidly respond. Words have a way of calling up what you know that filters the environment for you.”

The study, she said , “is the first clear demonstration of the impact of words on the way children navigate the visual world and is a first step toward understanding the way language influences visual attention, raising new testable hypotheses about the process.”

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Modeling the Cellular Basis of Memory

[Source:  Psych Central]

memoryResearchers at the Salk Institute have created a new model of memory that explains the cellular mechanisms responsible for retaining select memories a few hours after an event.

This new paradigm enables a more complete picture of how memory works and can inform research into disorders liked Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s,post-traumatic stress, and learning disabilities.

“Previous models of memory were based on fast activity patterns,” said Terry Sejnowski, Ph.D., holder of Salk’s Francis Crick Chair and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

“Our new model of memory makes it possible to integrate experiences over hours rather than moments.”

Over the past few decades, neuroscientists have revealed much about how long-term memories are stored.

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Biomarkers Enable Screening for Autism at 9 Months

[Source:  Psych Central]

biomarkersNew research suggests measurement of two biomarkers can help physicians and diagnosticians identify autism spectrum disorders (ASD) early in the developmental process.

Detection of ASD is often a waiting game as a child is evaluated according to their accomplishments of developmental milestones. Typically, this has meant that most children are diagnosed with ASD around the age of four, although some have been identified as early as two years of age.

Researchers, including a team from Children’s National Health System, identified head circumference and head tilting reflex as two reliable biomarkers in the identification of ASD in children that are between nine and 12 months of age.

Currently, although a number of studies have reported that parents of children with ASD notice developmental problems in children before their first birthday, there has yet to be a screening tool to identify those children.

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Teens More Likely to Attempt Suicide Following Concussion

[Source:  Medical News Today]

concussions

New research from Canada finds that teenagers who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, such as concussion, at some point in their lives are twice as likely to be victims of school bullying or cyberbullying. They are also nearly three times as likely to attempt suicide or be threatened with a weapon at school compared to peers who have never suffered such an injury.

Lead author Gabriela Ilie, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto and a postdoctoral fellow at St. Michael’s Hospital, also in Toronto, says not only are adolescents who have suffered traumatic brain injury more likely to be victims of bullying, they are also more likely to:

  • Become bullies and carry weapons themselves
  • Engage in high-risk behaviors
  • Seek help from a counseling helpline

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Another Seasonal Idea of the Week: Speech and Language Garden

[Source:  Bright Ideas SLP]

flower

This week I am working on a Speech & Language Garden… aka flowers on my bulletin board. It’s so easy and provides many data collection opportunities.
Here’s how it’s done: You simply cut out circles for the middle of the flowers.. I went with yellow for a daisy theme. Next, freehand cut some petal shapes in the color of your choosing. Like so…

flower2

Finally, simply have your kiddos draw pictures, write sentences, or complete a task at whatever level they are at. For the articulation groups, I gave them target cards and told them to draw pictures/write the words. Then I went around the group to obtain data, and put their petals onto their respective flower.  I’ve arranged flowers by target sounds, language, social skills, categories etc. One group was working on identifying emotions, so we made an “Emotions” flower.

 

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