Speech and Language Studies

Binaural Hearing and Speech Lab


Recruiting typically developing children 7-12 years of age who meet the following criteria: Native English speakers, normal hearing, no history of recurring ear infections, and pressure equalization (PE) tubes. To find out more visit the website:
http://www.waisman.wisc.edu/bhl/patients_participants.html or contact Shelly Godar, MA, CCC-A at 608.262.7483 or godar@waisman.wisc.edu.

PI: Ruth Litovsky, PhD
Keywords: Infant & Child Development, Speech and Language Development

Expressive Language Sampling in Down Syndrome


PURPOSE: To learn more about how spoken language samples can be used to measure change over time in the spoken language, problem solving, and behavior of individuals with genetic syndromes. In the future it is possible that measures of spoken language production may be useful as one way to learn whether different medications can help individuals with genetic syndromes to learn and use language more effectively. 

WHO: We are looking for boys and girls aged 6 to 23 years with Down Syndrome.

WHAT:  This is a longitudinal study which means we will ask you and your child to visit the Waisman Center three times over a 2-year time period.  At each visit, we will collect a language sample in three different ways; a conversation, looking at a picture book, and participating in a series of interactive activities with an examiner.  Additionally, we will ask you, the parent/guardian to fill out some questionnaires and participate in an interview about your child’s everyday living skills. You will be paid $50 for each visit as well as reimbursed for any traveling costs. 

Please contact our study coordinator, Susen Schroeder, for information at 608.263.5145 or sschroeder@waisman.wisc.edu

Principal Investigator: Audra Sterling, PhD
Keywords: Down Syndrome, Speech and Language Development

Infant Learning Lab


There are several projects examining the learning processes underlie that acquisition of words, one's native language, and music. Infants ages 6 to 30 months are needed.

PI: Jenny Saffran, PhD
Keywords: Infant and Child Development, Speech and Language Development

Parenting and Language Learning in Young Children with Down Syndrome


If you have a child with Down syndrome between 2 and 5 years of age, you and your family are invited to participate in a research study conducted by Dr. Audra Sterling at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin – Madison.

The purpose of this study is to learn more about the relationships among parenting, social interactions, and language learning in children with Down syndrome. 

If you decide that you and your family would like to participate in this study, we will ask you to complete questionnaires related to your child’s development and daily behaviors, as well as your marital relationship and overall health.  We will come to your home and record your family as you interact during different daily activities, such as during making a snack together, playing and reading a story.  During our visit, we will also complete developmental assessments through interacting with your child.  Additionally, we will request that you use our audio recording device to record 1-2 evenings for three hours before bedtime.   Your family will be compensated $50 for your time.

If you are interested in this study or would like to learn more, please call the Study Coordinator at (608)263-5145 or email RIDDLL@waisman.wisc.edu.

PI: Audra Sterling, PhD
Keywords: Down Syndrome, Family Studies, Parents, Speech and Language Development

Speech Development Study


Our current research study examines speech characteristics in young children. We are recruiting typically developing children between the ages of 2 ½ and 7 years to participate.

The information we gather from your child will be used to determine how intelligible the speech of typically developing children is at different ages.  We will use recordings of your child’s speech to help establish expectations for typical speech development.  This information will be compared to the same data obtained from a group of children with cerebral palsy, to help us understand the differences in speech characteristics between the two groups.

If you decide to have your child participate in this research he or she will be evaluated at the Waisman Center in a special sound room. Your child’s participation will last between 30 and 60 minutes and will be 1 session. During the session, your child will participate in several play-based activities designed to elicit speech. Your child will receive a small toy of his or her choice for participating and you will be paid $10.  In addition, you will complete a few short questionnaires about your child’s behavior and development.

For questions or additional information, please call (608) 262-2967 or email us at TDspeech@waisman.wisc.edu.

To enroll your child in this study, go to: http://go.wisc.edu/TDspeech.

PI: Katherine Hustad, PhD
Keywords: Speech and Language Development, Infant and Child Development 

Speech and Sound Reflection Study


The Vocal Tract Development Laboratory at the Waisman Center, directed by Dr. Houri K. Vorperian, is currently recruiting individuals of all ages to participate in a speech and sound reflection study. The lab is interested in characterizing the development of the mouth and throat structures in typically developing individuals and individuals with Down syndrome. The purpose of the lab's research is to understand how changes in the anatomy of the mouth and throat affect the production of speech sounds.

This current study includes a hearing screening and having your voice recorded while repeating sounds, words, and sentences. Eligible participants may also be asked to breathe into a tube. The tube makes clicking noises to measure the inside of the mouth and throat. Participants with recent head or neck imaging (CT or MRI scans) are highly desired, but those without imaging may still
participate. Compensation is provided for participation. Study duration is 30-60 minutes.

You can view this study's consent form as well as an informational flyer here:  http://www.waisman.wisc.edu/vocal/ongoing-studies.html

Please contact the Vocal Tract Lab at 608.263.5610 or email vtlab@waisman.wisc.edu if you have any questions or would like to schedule a visit.

PI: Houri K. Vorperian, PhD
Keywords: Down Syndrome, Infant and Child Development

Toddler Study - Cochlear Implants


Spatial hearing, or sound localization, refers to our ability to determine where sounds originate in our environment. In the Binaural Hearing and Speech Lab (PI: Ruth Litovsky), we are studying the development of spatial hearing in young children who use cochlear implants. We are currently recruiting children under the age of 3 years who use unilateral or bilateral cochlear implants to participate in our studies. Children should have a history of severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss bilaterally at birth or within the first few months of life, be native English speakers, and have at least 6 months of experience with their device.

To determine if your child is eligible for this study, or if you would like more information, please contact Shelly Godar at godar@waisman.wisc.edu or call 608.262.7483.

PI: Ruth Litovsky, PhD
Keywords: Cochlear Implants, Hearing Impairment, Speech and Language Development