Normal language development is crucially related to children's emotional and behavioral wellbeing. Many children suffer from impairments in their language development, which in turn may place them at risk for emotional, behavioral and learning difficulties. However, little is known about how these elements work together and, ultimately, how to best help and protect these children.
The Child Language and Developmental Psychiatry research project is devoted to scientific inquiry in this important area of child development. These are some of our research questions:
- How do children's language abilities and mental health relate?
- What are these relations like in bilingual children?
- What other child, family or school factors influence these relations? What neurocognitive and stress processes affect the child's linguistic functioning and adaptation?
- What do we know about the strenghths and benefits of bilingualism for children with language, learning, emotional/behavioral and developmental disabilities including autism spectrum disorder?
- What protective factors may keep a child with language impairments from ultimately developing mental health problems? How do we go about fostering these factors?
- What factors are promising targets for treatment and prevention? Which ones can we modify to prevent psychiatric and learning disorders and to promote mental health in language-impaired as well as in all children?
- What type of national and state policies promote the linguistic and cognitive development of children (leading to better mental health and overal child wellbeing), by fostering rich early environments for children at risk and for all children--such as high quality childcare and preschool?