Looking to learn from the NYU Steinhardt Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders about typical child language acquisition, representatives from Singapore’s Ministry of Social and Family Development recently visited Associate Professor Sudha Arunachalam’s aptly-named LEARN (Language Experience and Acquisition Research at NYU) Lab.
The Ministry is currently in the process of creating educational materials aimed at dispelling myths about child development and equipping Singaporean parents with helpful child-rearing tips. After coming across the LEARN Lab’s research, members of the Ministry sought out Dr. Arunachalam to incorporate her expertise into their recommendations about children and language.
Upon arriving on campus, Dr. Arunachalam gave the visitors a tour of the lab and provided a demonstration of the eye-tracking equipment she uses to research language comprehension (check out the video below to see how the equipment functions during a study). The visit concluded with a conversation covering a range of topics, including how parents can best support a child’s vocabulary development or acquisition of a second language, and an understanding that Dr. Arunachalam and the Ministry will continue to keep in touch.
“Scientists worry a lot about how to make our research accessible to people who can use it to effect real change,” Dr. Arunachalam said. “It was incredibly gratifying to talk with the Ministry representatives about how children learn language and, in turn, to learn about their efforts to educate caregivers and make a difference in the lives of Singaporean children.”