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Language and Neurodevelopmental Trajectories Lab

(Directed by Dr. Eileen Haebig)

In the Language NeT Lab we examine how children with neurodevelopmental disorders develop language. Within neurodevelopmental disorders, our lab primarily focuses on language abilities in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), specific language impairment (SLI), and fragile X syndrome (FXS). Although each group has unique features, we have learned that there are also areas of overlap. We also are interested in examining how language features within and across groups change over time. The Language NeT Lab employs a multi-level approach to address our overarching research questions. As such, research studies incorporate behavioral coding, eye tracking, language sample analysis, and event related brain potentials (ERPs) to examine language learning and processing in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. The ultimate goal of the Language NeT Lab is to gain insight into evidence-based approaches to support clinical assessment and intervention.

Lab Accomplishments

  • Dr. Haebig received a 3-year research grant that is supporting studies that aim to better understand how children with autism spectrum disorder process the words that they know and how they learn new words. We will use different methods to answer our research questions.
  • Jena Vizzini was accepted into LSU's summer ASPIRE program and completed a research project that examined how preschool children learn new words. In the study, Dr. Haebig and Jena found that children learn best when they are asked to retrieve the new information that they have been taught (e.g., "What's this one called again?"). They also found that the best learning occurs when there is a delay between when children are taught new information and when they are asked to retrieve it. Although it's harder to remember what you have been taught when there's a delay between learning and retrieval practice, this delayed retrieval practice leads to optimal learning!

  • Allison Herring successfully defended her master's thesis!
  • Katelyn and the other Language NeT Lab members have successfully set up a new ERP experiment in the lab to learn more about how children process verbs.

 Jena and Dr. Haebig presenting research at the undergraduate research symposium
Katelyn and Dr. Haebig with the lab's EEG cap

What Our Lab Is Up To

The Language NeT lab members are currently working with researchers at Purdue University to analyze data from a word learning study that preschoolers participated in with Dr. Haebig, Dr. Leonard, Dr. Weber, and Dr. Deevy.