Project: Research project

Project Details


The current longitudinal study of infant vocal development has yielded
important new information on early differences between normally developing
an handicapped infants. Down syndrome and deaf infants show clear
anomalies in vocal patterning in the first year of life, and there is
preliminary reason to believe that other disorders (e.g., autism) may also
be marked by early vocal abnormalities. The proposed renewal of the vocal
development effort would focus on deepening the study of early markers of
linguistic handicap, by expanding the frames of description of vocal
development. In addition to Down syndrome and deaf infants, the proposed
study would focus on autistic and other mentally retarded children.
Whereas the prior work treated vocalizations as independent events, the
proposed work will consider them in the interfactional context of parent-
infant dialogues and the interplay of experimenters and children. Whereas
the prior work treated vocalizations in terms of sound quality only, the
proposed work will study the primitive communicative functions that may be
served by vocalizations. Whereas the prior work treated syllable-like
vocal expression only, the proposed work will also describe intonation,
facial affect and gesture. Within the expanded frames of evaluation, it is
anticipated that the proposed work will yield new means of identifying
characteristics of disorders early in life and may also yield implications
regarding appropriate interventions.
Effective start/end date5/1/884/30/00


  • National Institutes of Health


  • Medicine(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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