Small Talk Child Language Lab


Below are brief descriptions of the current studies in the Language Development & Disorders Lab. Parents who are interested in enrolling their children in any of these studies can contact Dr. Reuterskiöld here.

Students interested in participating in all different aspects of the research process, such as planning, creating protocols, data collection and analysis, as well as preparation for dissemination of results, are welcome to contact Dr. Reuterskiöld and participate in weekly lab meetings.

A list of this lab's current and previous collaborators in research can be found here.

Content, Form and Use of Language in Young Siblings of Children with Developmental Language Disorders
















In this study we are interested in early communication in young children. All infants are invited to participate, but we are especially interested in infants with an older sibling with a developmental language delay. Early detection and intervention is important and  we need measures that can capture early signs of later language and communication problems. There is a need for measures describing the development of language and communication over time (McCardle et al., 2005; Tager-Flusberg, 2005). The method of analysis used in our lab is based on the Form/Content/Use taxonomy by Lahey (1988).

The question we are asking in this study is: Do young siblings of children with ASD and SLI show  deviations from typical development in terms of precursors and early development of language Form, Content, and Use?

Participation: We are currently inviting infants (10 months old or younger) for this study. Participation involves meeting every other month for one year and every three months for the next year. Infants are video recorded in interaction with a parent and with the examiner during a play activity. Each visit is reimbursed with $25. INTERESTED? Click here.


Language and Context in Children with High-Functioning Autism

We have collected narrative and conversational data for school-age children with ASD and their typical peers to investigate task-related effects on language production.The study was supported by an NYU Steinhardt Challenge Grant, and a manuscript for publication is in preparation.

Results have been presented at the ASHA annual convention in San Diego, CA, in November 2011, at the Symposium for Research in Child Language Disorders (SRCLD) in Madison, WI in June 2012, and at the 7th International Workshop on Language Production (IWOLP '12) in New York, NY in July , 2012.

Using the SALT Program to Analyze Content/Form/Use-Interactions in Child Language

Bloom & Lahey (1978; Lahey 1988) described children's ability to express intentionality with the interaction of language Form (grammar/syntax), Content (concepts/propositions) and Use (pragmatics; communicative function and nonlinguistic and linguistic utterance) within each utterance.In this project we have developed a simplified coding system for analyzing language sample in terms of F/C/U using the software SALT: Systematic Analysis of Language Trancripts (Miller & Iglesias 1984-2012). 

We are currently working together with speech language pathologists at the Rebecca School in NYC, to  see how this method of analysis can aid communication goal setting for children with autism spectrum disorders.

A preliminary version of this work was presented at the ASHA (American Speech Language and Hearing Association) convention in 2010, an expanded version was presented at the 2012 ASHA convention as well as the ICPLA 2014 and IASCL 2014 (with focus on pragmatic coding).

For a short description of this project (oral presentation handout) please click here.

Incidental Learning of Idioms in Children

How do children learn idioms such as "Don't spill the beans?" Together with Dr. Diana Sidtis, Dr. Reuterskiöld designed an experiment where low-frequency idioms and novel (non-idiomatic) phrases matched in number of words occur in a naturalistic conversational context. Participants for the study were recruited from the NYC public school system and results indicated that after one exposure in a conversational context, children recognized more idioms than matched novel phrases, as evidenced by a recognition task. Idioms are commonly used in everyday language and in child literature. It is largely unknown how children learn these structures. Our results support the view that idioms are learned in a different manner than novel language. Please see 

Reuterskiöld, C., & Van Lancker Sidtis, D. (2013). Retention of idioms following one-time exposure. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 29(2), 219-231.

Non-Word Repetition and Speech Motor Control

Previous research has shown a relationship between a child's chronological age, articulation skills and PSTM memory, as measured by non-word repetition tasks. Few studies, however, have examined the relationship between the motor skills required for speech production and the cognitive and linguistic complexity of these phonological tasks. Non-world repetition is a complex psycholinguistic task and researchers call for studies investigating the underlying skills involved in non-word repetition, such as motor planning and execution. Dr. Reuterskiöld and Dr. Maria Grigos have collected data for two exploratory studies examining the effects of increased cognitive demands on articulator movement during repetition. Emphasis was placed on comparisons between real-words and non-words, as well as simple and complex syllable structures. Children and adolescents produced real words and non-words, and speech motor movements were analyzed using a movement tracking system. Results showed that movement duration and variability was greater during the production of non-words compared to real words.

This work has been published in BioMed Research International:

Reuterskiold, C., & Grigos, M. (2015). Nonword Repetition and Speech Motor Control in Children. Biomed Res Int. 2015, 683279.