Language Research for Parents of Blind Infants

a baby girl wearing vest with recorder

The Bergelson Lab at Duke University is looking for families with blind infants to participate in studies about language development! They study infant word learning, focusing on how babies learn words from the world around them. They are developing a new study looking at word learning in blind infants, who are notably strong word learners. Your child may be eligible to participate in this study.

There are four different options for study participation for infants with bilateral severe-to-profound visual impairment. If you are interested in participating, they’ll ask you a few questions about your child’s diagnoses to determine whether they are eligible.

The lab has two options for families anywhere within the US:

  1. Surveys-only: Caretakers complete online surveys about their child’s language and development (compensation: $20).
  2. Home-recording + surveys: In addition to the caretakers surveys, infants wear a small encrypted audio recording device for one day, inside a vest with a special pocket. This recorder and vest are designed specially for child language research (compensation: $55).

The lab also offers two options for families near the Durham, N.C. area:

  1. Play-session: Families visit the lab at Duke and participate in a 45-minute recorded play session with their child (compensation $40).
  2. Brain-study: (conducted with the Woldorff Lab at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience) Families participate in a study measuring how the brain responds to hearing words. The lab measures the brain using a completely non-invasive method called electroencephalography (EEG), which requires infants to wear a little cap with sensors (compensation: $40/hour, 1-2 hour).

These studies all help researchers understand more about how young children with little to no vision learn language. If you are interested in learning more about our study and your child’s eligibility, please email elasi@duke.edu; graduate student Erin Campbell will be your primary point of contact.


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